Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza following rocket fire

Rocket fire came as city of Sderot inaugurated drive-in movie theater and shortly after change of command of the Gaza Divison.

By ANNA AHRONHEIM   AUGUST 3, 2020 07:50

Flame and smoke are seen during an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

Flame and smoke are seen during an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

Israel Air Force jets struck several Hamas sites in the central and southern Gaza Strip early Monday morning after a rocket was fired from the coastal enclave towards southern Israel, as residents of the town of Sderot took in a Drive-Through movie.The military said warplanes hit a cement factory used in the construction of tunnels as well as “underground facilities” used by Hamas.Palestinian media said jets struck “resistance sites” near Khan Younis and Rafah.The retaliatory strikes came several hours after a rocket was fired from northern Gaza and was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. It was the first in almost a month.“One [rocket] launch was detected from the territory of the Gaza Strip toward Israel, which was intercepted by aerial defense soldiers,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.Sirens were activated in Sderot and surrounding communities of Ibim, Erez, Or Haner and Nir Am that border the northern Gaza Strip in the Sha’ar Hanegev region around 9PM, sending thousands of Israelis to bomb shelters.The city of Sderot said that the sirens sounded during the inauguration of the city’s Drive-In Theater complex where dozens of cars were parked as residents took in a movie.

While there were no physical injuries, several vehicles were damaged from shrapnel from the Iron Dome interceptor which fell on the city’s streets.The rocket also came shortly after the change of command of the Gaza Division where Brig.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano was replaced by Brig.-Gen. Nimrod Aloni after two years in the position.“During my tenure as commander of the Gaza Division, the leaders of the terrorist organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, pursued a strategy of intimidation and panic, firing rockets and mortar shells aimed at Israeli citizens,” Toledano said at the ceremony. “Hamas does not care about the children of the Gaza Strip. They must stop digging tunnels like wild animals and invest the concrete in building infrastructure for the homeless. They must stop manufacturing rockets and use pipes to build proper water and sewage infrastructure for their children. They must stop sowing launchers and harvest rockets and sow wheat and harvest grain,” he added.The head of the Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Hertz Halevy warned that the IDF cannot guarantee peace in the area but that it will do everything it can to protect the quality of life of the residents of southern Israel.“We do not guarantee peace in an area where there are reasons to fight, we know what is on the other side, we promise to do everything to protect and to always be ready for any action that may be required against the Gaza Strip,” he said. “It is our duty, together with the civilian leadership, to allow the Gaza Envelope area to continue to prosper and flourish regardless of the situation in Gaza itself.”

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