Srinagar: Israeli forces and Hamas exchanged rocket fire on Monday night amid fears of a new conflict in Gaza.
Israeli forces carried out strikes against what they called “Hamas terror targets” across the Gaza Strip, after an earlier rocket attack that destroyed a family home and wounded seven people in a neighbourhood north of Tel Aviv. The army also said it was reinforcing troops along the Gaza border and calling up reserves, The Guardian reported.
The targets of the Israeli raids on Gaza included the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and a five-storey building in central Gaza City it said was a Hamas interior security office.
Militants in Gaza then fired at least 10 rockets towards the southern Israeli town of Sderot, but no Israeli casualties were reported as a result of that attack.
At 10pm on Monday, Hamas announced that a cease-fire had been brokered by Egyptian mediators. But shortly after, renewed rocket fire could be heard in Gaza, setting off air-raid sirens in southern Israel. Hamas’s leadership went into hiding after the first rocket attack, anticipating the Israeli response. The Gaza health ministry said five people were wounded by the airstrikes.
The fighting broke out while the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in Washington to meeting Donald Trump. After receiving emphatic backing from Trump at the White House, Netanyahu announced he was cutting short his US trip to take command of operations.
“Israel will not tolerate this. I will not tolerate it,” Netanyahu said during his White House appearance. “As we speak, Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression.”
Trump described the Hamas rocket attack as “horrific” and added: “The US recognises Israel’s absolute right to defend itself.”