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December 29, 2017 8:37 am

Gaza Rocket Strikes Southern Israel; IDF Hits Hamas Targets in Retaliation

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The remains of a rocket launched at southern Israel in the past. Photo: Israel Police. – The IDF hit Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday after three rockets were fired from the coastal territory toward southern Israel.

According to the IDF, the rockets prompted sirens in the Sha’ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev regional councils in southern Israel. The Iron Dome defense system intercepted two rockets, but the third rocket struck Israel, landing in Sha’ar HaNegev and damaging the entrance to a building. No casualties were reported.

In response to the rocket fire, IDF tanks and Israeli Air Force planes targeted two posts belonging to Hamas in northern Gaza.

The rocket launch from Gaza came amid a ceremony marking the 24th birthday of slain Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, who was killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and whose body is currently being held by Gaza-ruling Hamas.

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A video captured of the ceremony for Shaul by Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin appears to show the rocket barrage coming just after a musical performance, forcing participants to take cover on the grass with their hands over their heads since they were too far from a rocket shelter. The video also showed Shaul’s mother, Zehava, in shock and being escorted away.

While the IDF could not definitively say whether or not the rockets targeted the ceremony, the military said that “absolutely could be” the case, noting the timing of the rocket fire, The Times of Israel reported.

Rocket fire from Gaza has been on the rise since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6.

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