Israel Launches Air Strikes Targeting Hamas in Lebanon, Gaza After Rocket Attack

Israel Launches Air Strikes Targeting Hamas in Lebanon, Gaza After Rocket Attack
Israeli security personnel check the remains of a rocket in Shlomi, northern Israel, on April 6, 2023. (Fadi Amun/Reuters)
Katabella Roberts
Updated:

Israel’s military said it launched air strikes across Gaza and Lebanon in the early hours of the morning on April 7, striking targets linked to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The strikes came in response to rocket attacks from Lebanon towards northern Israeli areas on Thursday, which Israeli officials blamed on Hamas.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement on Twitter translated by multiple news media that its forces “attacked infrastructure targets and targets of the terrorist organization Hamas in southern Lebanon.”

It added that the IDF “will not allow the terrorist organization Hamas to operate from Lebanon and considers the state of Lebanon responsible for all fire from its territory.”

Israel’s military later said it was also attacking the Gaza Strip due to what it called “Hamas’ security violations.” Military officials said fighter jets struck multiple targets including underground tunnels and weapons manufacturing sites of Hamas.
However, there are reports that multiple residential homes were damaged by the strikes and the Palestinian Ministry of Health said a children’s hospital in Gaza City was hit, which left young patients inside “distressed.”

“This is not the first time that health facilities have been targeted, and it is unacceptable,” the ministry added in a statement.

People react as a siren sounds following incoming rockets from Lebanon to Israel near Shlomi, northern Israel, on April 6, 2023. (Fadi Amun/Reuters)
People react as a siren sounds following incoming rockets from Lebanon to Israel near Shlomi, northern Israel, on April 6, 2023. (Fadi Amun/Reuters)

Lebanon Strikes Israel

Two people in the Galilee region were injured, including a man hit by shrapnel and a woman who was hurt as she ran to a bomb shelter, according to the Israeli medical aid society Magen David Adom.

The latest air strikes mark the most serious escalation between Lebanon and Israel since the 2006 war.

In a statement responding to the strikes, Hamas said it holds Israel “fully responsible for the grave escalation and the flagrant aggression against the Gaza Strip and for the consequences that will bring onto the region.” In another statement, the terrorist group said it stands in “solidarity with the Lebanese people.”

Israel’s strikes on Gaza and Southern Lebanon came after at least 34 rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon on Thursday afternoon, according to the IDF.

The military said 25 of the rockets were intercepted by air defense systems. Axios reports that four of the rockets fell inside Lebanon and five fell into Israeli territory, including the northern town of Shlomi.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack from Lebanon but Hamas and Islamic Jihad are believed to be responsible this time, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, told multiple media outlets.
Israeli army soldiers take aim during clashes with Palestinian protesters following a demonstration to denounce the annual nationalist "flag march" through Jerusalem, in the city of Hebron in the West Bank on May 29, 2022. (Mosab Shawer / AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli army soldiers take aim during clashes with Palestinian protesters following a demonstration to denounce the annual nationalist "flag march" through Jerusalem, in the city of Hebron in the West Bank on May 29, 2022. (Mosab Shawer / AFP via Getty Images)

Israel Will ‘Exact a Heavy Price’

In a statement early on Friday following the IDF strikes on Gaza and Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attacks were carried out in “response to the firing at citizens of Israel in the north and the south.”
“Israel’s response, tonight and in the future, will exact a heavy price,” Netanyahu said.
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, also condemned the firing of rockets from Lebanon adding that the country “opposes any military escalation from its territory and opposes the use of its territory for acts that destabilize the region.”

He noted that Lebanese troops and U.N. peacekeepers were investigating and trying to find the perpetrators.

The latest strikes come during the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, which this year coincides with the Jewish Passover holiday. Tensions have been running high following Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem this week, which is regarded as the third-holiest site in Islam.

Since Ramadan began on March 22, a group of Palestinians has repeatedly attempted to stay overnight in the mosque, which is usually permitted only during the last 10 days of the holiday. Israeli police have evicted the group on a nightly basis.

Police used stun grenades and rubber bullets against what they said were protestors barricaded inside, who in turn threw stones and launched fireworks against the police. More than 350 people were arrested according to police, and at least 12 sustained injuries.
National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that Washington is “very concerned” about the escalating violence in Israel.

“We call on all sides to de-escalate, reduce the violence,” Kirby said.

Matthew Horwood and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
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