The Israeli army carried out strikes in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday morning, hours after two rockets were fired at Israel from the Palestinian enclave.
The army said it targeted an underground Hamas facility for the production of rocket materials in the central Gaza Strip. Palestinians reported that several strikes took place near Gaza City shortly before 5 a.m., videos and photos on social media showed large fireballs rising in the wake of strikes on unidentified targets.
The army said that “the target site was one of the largest and most important sites in the sector for the production of basic materials for missiles by terrorist groups,” stressing that the attack will greatly affect the missile industry.
The military regularly holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from Gaza.
Simultaneously, two more rockets were fired at Israel, and sirens sounded in the Lachish Regional Council, in the north-east of the Strip. Both missiles hit open areas.
Earlier, two missiles were fired at Israel from Gaza. According to the Israeli army, one of the missiles was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, while the other landed in an open area, without causing damage.
None of the Palestinian factions in Gaza announced that they launched rockets on Saturday, shortly after midnight.
Video | Press coverage: “The moment the occupation aircraft bombed the Al-Baydar site, southwest of Gaza City.” pic.twitter.com/MboiUllMVB
Quds News Network (qudsn) 16 July 2022
Sirens were heard from the southern port city of Ashkelon, prompting local residents to head to shelters. Magen David Adom Ambulance Service said there were no reports of bodily injuries following the rocket attack, but two people were treated for concern.
The footage posted on social media allegedly shows the moment Iron Dome intercepted one of the missiles.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) July 15 2022
The missile launch came hours after US President Joe Biden left the country, and shortly after the US leader, who is now in Saudi Arabia, announced an agreement that includes steps by Riyadh toward Normalization of relations with Israel.
The deal would see two islands in the Red Sea transferred from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh allowed Israeli airlines to fly over its territory on its way to the far east. The Saudis are also expected to include allowing direct flights from Israel for Muslim pilgrims.
– News source (@msdrnews1) 16 July 2022
In 2020, the Gaza-ruling Hamas launched a barrage of rockets into the south while Israel was signing peace deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Biden left Israel earlier on Friday, after a two-day trip that included meetings with Israeli leaders and visits to East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
More footage of the apparent interception over Ashkelon. pic.twitter.com/b4DQWiMOfC
– Emmanuel (Mane) Fabian (maniefabian) July 15 2022
In the past, Israel responded with airstrikes on Hamas positions regardless of which group launched the attack. In rare cases, it directed its response to Islamic Jihad, if the movement claimed responsibility.
The last time rockets were fired from the coastal enclave towards Israel was on June 18. This attack was believed to have been launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in response to the killing of three Palestinians in a gun battle with Israeli forces the previous day.
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