IDF Strikes Hamas
File Photo: IDF Strikes Hamas

Israel carried out airstrikes against the Hamas terror group in Gaza in the early hours of Friday morning, in response to two rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian terrorists in the Strip on Thursday night, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

IDF warplanes and other aircraft attacked a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility and underground infrastructure, the army said.

Tensions have climbed in the south after the IDF on Tuesday announced uncovering what it said was a Hamas attack tunnel inside Israeli territory that had been dug from the Gaza Strip.

The rockets were fired on Thursday at the city of Ashkelon and nearby communities north of the Gaza Strip, the second attack in days following months of relative quiet along the border.

The IDF said one projectile was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. The second projectile appeared to land in an open field. No injuries or damage were reported.

A single rocket was fired at Israel on Tuesday, drawing a reprisal raid. The rocket attack occurred hours after the military announced uncovering the tunnel into Israel. A Gazan rocket was also fired at Israel on Friday.

The so-called “terror tunnel” had been constructed from the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis toward the Israeli community of Kibbutz Kissufim.

Though the tunnel penetrated dozens of meters into Israeli territory, it remained on the Gaza side of the underground concrete barrier around the Strip. IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said the sensor-studded barrier, which is due to be completed in the coming months, first identified an anomaly on Monday and military engineers confirmed that it was in fact a tunnel the following day.

The military said Wednesday night it had determined that Hamas was behind the tunnel based on the manner in which it was constructed. It did not offer any details.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas.

The military said the tunnel did not pose a threat to communities in the area.

Reports have proliferated in Hebrew media in recent weeks that Qatar is close to reaching a deal to resume supplying tens of millions of dollars in monthly cash transfers to Gaza, meant to help keep a lid on internal pressures.