Israel targets Gaza with airstrikes after intercepting rocket attack

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Israel launched an airstrike in Gaza early Thursday after intercepting a rocket attack from the coastal area.

In a Twitter post, the IDF said Israeli warplanes targeted a chemical production site and weapons manufacturing facility owned by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza.

“The IDF holds Hamas responsible for all terrorist activities emanating from Gaza and will face the consequences of security violations against Israel,” the IDF wrote.

On Wednesday, the IDF reported that a rocket fired from Gaza was intercepted by an IDF air defense array.

On Thursday, it released two videos of the airstrikes, filmed in black and white, showing huge plumes of smoke billowing into the air and pieces of debris falling to the ground.

It is not clear if there were any casualties.

The official Palestinian News and Information Agency reported that F-16 warplanes fired at least five missiles at a “site” in the central Gaza Strip, setting it on fire and damaging nearby houses. It said two missiles also hit agricultural land in the central region.

The strike comes after a period of bloodshed on both sides. Last Thursday, Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians and wounded several others in the West Bank city of Jenin, the deadliest day for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in nearly two years. It was followed by a shooting near a Jerusalem synagogue on Friday night, in what Israel described as one of its worst terror attacks in recent years.

It also follows US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken’s visit to Israel and the West Bank this week, which some had hoped would help cool rising tensions.

The Biden administration has been careful with its language and has tried to avoid criticizing the new government in Israel, which is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and includes controversial far-right ministers.

On Wednesday, Blanken reiterated the administration’s goal of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, saying the United States “will continue to oppose anything that puts that goal out of reach.”

Last year was the deadliest in nearly two decades for Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank, an analysis of official statistics from both sides shows.

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