Israeli aircraft strikes Gaza

Israeli FORCES

Jerusalem, Dec 26 Israeli military aircraft carried out strikes in Gaza Thursday, hours after rocket fire toward Ashkelon city forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a campaign event and take cover.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said warplanes and helicopters struck several targets belonging to the Hamas terror group, “including the group’s military complexes”, adding that the strikes were in response to Wednesday’s rocket fire, reports The Times of Israel.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from Gazan authorities as the sites were empty.

On Wednesday night, Palestinian terrorists broke a period of relative calm surrounding Gaza, firing a single rocket toward Ashkelon.

The projectile was shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, the IDF said.

Netanyahu was in the middle of a campaign event in Ashkelon at the time and was forced to evacuate to a bomb shelter along with the dozens of supporters in the room.

This was the second time since September that Netanyahu had to be evacuated as a result of rocket fire from Gaza during a campaign event in the south, said The Times of Israel.

Two rockets were fired at Ashdod and Ashkelon from Gaza a week before the September national elections, triggering sirens that forced Netanyahu to rush off stage during a live broadcast of an address.

Israeli media widely referred to the incident as one of the triggers to the Israeli “Black Belt” military operation in November, during which a senior Islamic Jihad commander, Baha Abu al-Atta, was killed in Gaza.

His killing sparked two-day fights that claimed the lives of at least 34 Palestinians in Gaza.

Meanwhile, no group has so far claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack.

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