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June 20, 2018 8:34 am

IAF Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza, Following New Spate of Rocket, Mortar Attacks

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A man takes a photo of a window damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that landed near it, in a kibbutz on the Israeli side of the Israeli-Gaza border, June 20, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

Several dozen rockets and mortar bombs launched at Israel by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and Israeli air strikes on the coastal enclave’s ruling Hamas terrorist group, raised the heat along the border on Wednesday.

The Israeli military said Hamas fired about 45 rockets and mortar bombs at southern Israel overnight, and that Israeli aircraft attacked 25 targets belonging to the group in response.

A graphic distributed by the military showed 21 impact sites in Israeli territory and it released a photo of one crater just outside a school. It said seven projectiles were intercepted, at least three fell short inside Gaza and that it was not immediately able to account for the others.

A Hamas spokesman said that as part of a policy of “bombardment for bombardment,” the barrages were retaliation for an earlier Israeli air strike.

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The Israeli military said that in that strike, it attacked three targets in a Hamas compound, calling it a response to the repeated launching of incendiary kites that have burned large tracts of parched farm fields and woodland in southern Israel.

Two Hamas security men were lightly hurt in one of the air raids, residents said. Sirens sounded throughout the night in parts of Israel‘s south, sending residents into fortified rooms that are mandatory in homes.

No Israeli casualties were reported.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, accused Hamas of stoking violence in an attempt “to steer focus away from its own failures inside Gaza,” pointing to energy shortages and a faltering economy.

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