The Israeli air force said it struck two Hamas targets in the southern Gaza Strip early Saturday in response to the firing of a projectile into Israeli territory, the Jerusalem Post reported Saturday morning, following several days of border incidents.
“The IDF will not tolerate terrorists opening fire onto Israeli territory and will continue to act severely against any attempt to disturb the peace of communities," the military said. Israel has a policy of holding Hamas solely responsible for all aggression originating from Gaza, even if carried out by Palestinian splinter groups.
Earlier Saturday morning, Palestinians launched a projectile that fell in an uninhabited area of southern Israel, setting off a siren. No injuries or damage were initially reported.
Red alert siren sounds in Gaza border community https://t.co/aPIUUuPzRp
— Israel News (@IsraelNewsNow) May 6, 2016
Tensions on the Israel-Gaza border have escalated over the past week, with numerous cross-border hostilities. Mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli soldiers Friday morning, causing no injuries in what the army said was the 12th incident in three days, the Times of Israel reported. The soldiers were operating near the southern edge of the coastal enclave, according to the army. Israeli jets subsequently targeted a Hamas site in southern Gaza.
Palestinian media reported Friday afternoon that Israel and Hamas reached a truce, brokered by Egypt, that would take effect immediately. But Israel's coordinator of government activities in the occupied territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, denied that any such agreement had been reached.
“The army intends to maintain its activities against Hamas as it continues to breach Israeli sovereignty and build tunnels,” he said.
Friday was the fourth day in a row in which Israeli troops on the border came under mortar fire, as they unearthed cross-border underground passages from the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, a Palestinian woman was killed when Israeli tank shells hit her home east of Khan Younis, according to the southern city’s Nasser Hospital.
The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said Friday that the Palestinian group was not seeking a new war with Israel, i24 News reported. Speaking at a mosque Friday before prayers, he said, "We are not calling for a new war, but we will not allow incursions or imposing facts on the ground by Israel in Gaza."
Haniyeh said the Palestinians objected the Israeli prohibition on Palestinian traffic in the "perimeter," a 300-meter buffer zone inside the strip and bordering the frontier. Israeli security officials agree that Hamas is not looking for a major escalation currently, Ynet News reported, but nervousness in Gaza raises the chances of a mistake that could lead to more extensive fighting.