IDF planes attacked Hamas targets in Gaza Shabbos morning, after Gaza terrorists fired rockets at Israel the night before. Although Israeli security officials estimated that the rockets were fired by elements in Islamic Jihad, the IDF warned Hamas that it held the terror group responsible for all terror that emerged from Gaza.
Red Alert sirens were heard in Ashkelon and surrounding areas Friday night, sending residents scurrying to bomb shelters. The IDF identified “non-rocket fire,” possibly mortar shells, at the direction of Ashkelon. Iron Dome missiles were fired at the incoming shells, destroying them in midair. Before that incident, several rockets were fired at southern communities, and the IDF responded almost immediately by bombing terror targets in Gaza. One of the rockets fired from Gaza landed and exploded in an open area near Sderot.
The rocket fire came after a rioter was shot at the Gaza border fence, later dying of his wounds. Hamas for the third week in a row had canceled the regular Friday protests at the border fence, but several dozen teens gathered at the fence near Khan Younis. The group attempted to break through the fence, and caused damage to it. Refusing to back away when warned to do so, the group was fired on by Israeli soldiers, and a 16-year-old was injured. He was taken to a Gaza hospital, where he later died. The IDF said that it had used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, and that an investigation was underway into the death of the rioter.
Lebanese reports Friday said that talks between Israel and Hamas were continuing on an arrangement that would lead to a cessation of rocket attacks on Israel. According to the report, both sides are “serious” about reducing tension, as the Gaza terror group has decided that at this time it needs to worry about the welfare of Gaza residents. The deal would include the return of missing Israelis held by Hamas in exchange for the release of terrorists, and the establishment of a water purification plant in Gaza.