Israel hits Gaza weapons facilities

Israel’s Air Force attacked what it said were two weapons storage facilities in the Gaza Strip.

Direct hits were identified in the early Wednesday morning attacks, according to statement from the Israel Defense Forces spokespersons’ office.

The statement said that the sites were targeted in response to rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israeli communities. So far in 2012, over 270 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, including at least two this week.

Last weekend, the Air Force struck three weapons production sites in central Gaza, and two terror tunnels.The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that the strikes hit a poultry farm and a naval police post.

Israel’s Air Force strikes tunnel in northern Gaza

Israel’s Air Force fired on a tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip that the military said is used for terrorist purposes.

A direct hit on the tunnel was confirmed early on Wednesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

The strike was in retaliation for a Kassam rocket fired from Israel on northern Israel Tuesday evening, according to the IDF. No injuries or damage was reported from the rocket.

Since the beginning of 2012 more than 265 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have hit southern Israel, according to the IDF.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, shots were fired at IDF soldiers performing what the military spokesman said was “routine operational activities” near the security fence in central Gaza.

No injuries were reported, but two armored vehicles sustained light damage during the incident. The IDF said that Israel Air Force aircraft and armored forces opened fire at “suspicious targets” in response.

Netanyahu says Israel ‘regrets’ hitting Palestinian civilians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he regretted the accidental killing of four members of a Palestinian family in their Gaza home by Israeli tank fire.

Netanyahu in a statement Tuesday from the Prime Minister’s Office emphasized that the shooting was in response to fire by Hamas at Israeli citizens.

“It is unfortunate that Hamas continues to rain down dozens of rockets on Israeli civilians intentionally using civilians as shields,” he said. “Israel has no intention of bringing about a deterioration of the situation, but at the same the IDF will continue to act decisively to protect Israeli citizens.”

Later Tuesday evening, three gunmen from the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, were killed in an Israeli airstrike, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. The Israel Defense Forces said it struck terrorists on their way to launch rockets at Israel; the IDF identified them as the terrorists who launched a Grad-style rocket on Beersheba last month.

A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza struck Ashkelon shortly after.

Some 13 other Palestinians, including children, also were injured in Tuesday afternoon’s strike, which came after four Kassam rockets fired from Gaza hit southern Israel, according to reports. Israeli troops fired in the direction of Palestinians who had launched mortars at them, accidentally hitting the home, reports said.

Also Tuesday, Israeli troops fired on Gaza Palestinians preparing to launch an anti-tank missile at an Israeli force operating in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF in a statement said its soldiers hit their target.

Israeli combat planes late Monday night pounded the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a weekend mortar attack, the worst barrage of rocket attacks on southern Israel in two years. More than 50 mortar shells struck the area on Saturday morning. On Monday, a long-range Grad-style rocket was fired from Gaza at southern Israel.

The Israelis’ attack hit two terror tunnels, two weapons manufacturing and storage facilities and two additional terror activity sites across the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF. Israel Radio said there were reports from Palestinian sources of 17 wounded.

Israel had responded earlier Monday to Saturday’s barrage with airstrikes on suspected bomb smuggling tunnels. The latest attack seemed more comprehensive and sustained, according to Israel Radio.

The armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam Brigades, had claimed responsibility for most of the explosives sent Saturday from Gaza.

Before Israel’s attack Monday night, a spokesman for Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza, had indicated that the group was ready to return to a fragile truce.

Israel hits Gaza weapons storage facilities

Israel’s Air Force struck two weapons storage facilities in the Gaza Strip.

The attacks early Thursday morning were in response to the nine rockets and shells fired from Gaza at southern Israel on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces.

Two of the mortar shells reportedly contained phosphorus, which causes severe burns and has been banned by the Geneva Conventions.

Israeli airstrikes also hit a terrorist tunnel in southern Gaza on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Israeli military. The tunnel was used to smuggle terrorists into Israel to commit attacks against Israelis, the IDF said in a statement. Palestinian sources said that at least one Palestinian was killed.

Rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza have increased dramatically following the opening of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in the region.