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IDF retaliates for rocket fired from Gaza with air strikes

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon gave orders to close all crossings between Israel and Gaza except for humanitarian purposes.

IAF planes fly during an aerial show over the Mediterranean Sea as seen from a Tel Aviv beach, as part of Independence Day celebrations, April 23, 2015. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Israel Air Force retaliated on Sunday for a Gazan rocket fired at the Ashkelon region on Saturday night by striking a terror infrastructure site in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

The IDF also said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon gave an order to close the Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings between Israel and Gaza for all but humanitarian purposes. The border crossings will be re-opened based on how the security situation develops, the military said.

The IDF repeated its stance that Hamas is held responsible for everything that happens in the Strip. However, a radical Islamist Salafist group calling itself the Omar Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, according to Israel Radio.

On social media, the twitter account thought to be that of the extremist Salafi brigades said the rocket was fired in protest of brigade members who are being held in Gaza prisons, as well as those conducting hunger strikes across Israeli prisons.

According to Israel Radio, only hours before the attack, a Salafi leader called for continued rocket firings at Israel in order to disturb the relative calm.

The rocket triggered air raid sirens in the Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon regions. Security forces said late Saturday that they had begun searching for the projectile, which apparently exploded in an open area.

The incident came two days after the Israel Air Force struck Hamas targets in the coastal enclave in retaliation for two rockets fired into the South, for which the Omar Brigades also claimed responsibility. The radical group said it fired at Israel in response to Hamas killing an Islamic State supporter during a recent raid on his home.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has said Israel holds Hamas responsible for anything that happens within the Gaza Strip.


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