Hamas Targets in Gaza Hit in Response to Rocket Fire

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Smoke and flames rise during the Israeli airstrike. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Israeli aircraft struck a series of targets in the Gaza Strip early Monday in response to rocket launches out of the Hamas-ruled territory.

Tensions have risen after last week’s escape from an Israeli prison by six Palestinian terrorists, as well as struggling efforts by Egypt to broker a long-term ceasefire in the wake of an 11-day war last May.

The IDF reported three separate rocket launches late Sunday and early Monday, saying at least two of them were intercepted by its rocket defenses. In response, it said it attacked a number of Hamas targets. There were no reports of casualties on either side.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday called for a new approach to end the cycle of fighting with Hamas, describing a plan of international investment in Gaza’s infrastructure in exchange for pressure on Hamas to halt its military buildup and preserve calm.

“The policy Israel has pursued up until now hasn’t substantially changed the situation,” Lapid said.

“We need to change direction,” he added.

Much about his proposal — which he said was made in consultation with the United States and other countries — has been floated before but never implemented. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, whom Lapid is to replace in 2023 under a rotation agreement, did not immediately comment on the proposal.