Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas terrorist base in the Gaza Strip on Friday for the first time since the end of the war, in response to a rocket that was launched earlier in the day.
The terrorist rocket fired earlier landed in a field in southern Israel and did not cause casualties.
The air strike, the first since the end of Operation Protective Edge, destroyed a factory for making bricks in the construction of the Hamas network of terror tunnels. There were no casualties reported at the factory, located in the Khan Younis area of the southern Gaza Strip.
Hamas arrested members of a global jihadi organization in Gaza for the rocket attack, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Sunday.
“It’s totally clear that Hamas is responsible for fire from the Gaza Strip, and that’s why we took the trouble to pass on messages, through Egypt, to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and to respond through a strike on a cement factory that we learned creates material for use in tunnels,” he said.
“We are not sure whether it was our cement that was there, or cement left over from the Qataris [who donated to Gazan reconstruction projects in 2012]. It doesn’t matter,” Yaalon said.
The rocket launching came at the end of a week which saw a series of advanced military training exercises conducted by Hamas in Gaza. They included the firing of heavy weapons, which could be heard in Israeli communities near the border.
There were also rocket tests, all of which indicate that Hamas is preparing for another round of fighting.
Not to be caught offguard, the Homefront Command has reactivated high-rise rooftop surveillance sites in central Tel Aviv, which were used to warn of incoming rockets and missiles during last summer’s fighting. They are able as well to spot the sources of fire and direct IDF response with improved accuracy.
The rooftop units are also able to locate and assess damage from enemy projectiles.
In a separate incident on Friday, four Palestinian protesters were shot in the legs by Israeli troops after they ignored warnings to keep away from the border fence between the coastal territory and Israel, the military and Gaza medical officials said.