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February 18, 2018 10:49 am

Hamas Fires Rocket, Israel Hits 18 Gaza Targets in Most Serious Escalation Since 2014

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Rocket launchers in Gaza. Photot: Wikimedia Commons.

The Gaza-based terror group Hamas fired a rocket at Israel, leading the IDF to strike 18 targets in the coastal enclave on Saturday night in the most serious escalation in tensions on Israel’s southern border since the 2014 war in the territory.

Following Israeli retaliatory strikes for the detonation of an explosive device that wounded four soldiers, a rocket was fired from the Strip, striking a family home in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council. The rocket did not explode and no one was injured.

A group of Palestinians then attempted to infiltrate Israel. They were spotted by the IDF, which responded with tank fire. Two of the infiltrators were reported wounded, though details are unclear.

In response, the IDF launched airstrikes on 18 Hamas positions in the Strip. Israel holds the terrorist group, which rules Gaza, responsible for any attacks from the area.

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The father of the family whose home was hit told Israeli newspaper Ynet, “My youngest, who’s 5, fell asleep already. My 9-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son were still awake, though. We heard a Code Red alarm. We went into our shelter, as we’re used to by now.

“The moment we entered there was a really loud explosion. The entire house shook. We went outside. My wife went out to our yard, saw the damage and called me. When I returned inside I saw the roof partially caved in. My daughter, who was already traumatized by (Operation) Protective Edge, took it really hard. There was a lot of panicking. My youngest, on the other hand, was asleep in the shelter and didn’t even wake up.”

The escalation is the worst to occur in Israel’s south since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. IDF chiefs have previously warned that a rise in tensions is likely given the worsening humanitarian situation in the Strip.

Egypt is reportedly attempting to broker a reduction in tensions, with Hamas officials saying they are not interested in a war at this time.

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