May 29, 2018 - 18:33 AMT
Israel retaliates Gaza shelling with most powerful strikes in 4 years

The barrage of 28 mortars was fired from the enclave earlier in the day, most of them were claimed to be intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Sputnik says.

The Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, blamed the Hamas organization for the recent attacks, promising to respond “forcefully” to the barrage.

“Israel takes a grave view of the attacks on it and its communities by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip. The IDF will respond to these attacks forcefully,” he said during a conference in northern Israel, referring to the Israel Defence Forces.

According to the IDF, following Netanyahu’s statement, the Israeli air forces hit at least 35 targets at the positions of the Islamic Jihad movement in Southern Gaza, which Israel believed to be behind the attack. Later the IDF stated, that the strikes it performed in Gaza Strip were the most powerful for the last four years.

The IDF listed six military compounds, munition storage warehouses, naval targets, and terror headquarters among the attacked targets.

​Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman commented the issue, saying the strikes against Gaza are “only the beginning.”

“Today at midday, we massively and powerfully attacked terrorist infrastructure, including an additional tunnel, across the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have already paid a heavy price and the bill has just been presented to them. We have no intention to let it pass,” Lieberman added on Tuesday, May 29.

After the activation of the system IDF reported about two more missile attacks from the Gaza Strip, which were intercepted with the Iron Dome air defense system.

During the day the sirens had gone off on five occasions in the settlements along the border with the Gaza Strip — Hof Ashkelon, Eshkol, Sha’ar HaNegev, and Merchavim Regional Councils, the Ashkelon industrial area, and Sderot.

The situation on the border escalated on Monday, particularly after an Israeli tank attacked a militant observation post in response to an attempted violation of the border by two Palestinians.

The violent clashes between Palestinian protestors and IDF on the Gaza border Israel continue since the last March, when a full-scale demonstrations were organized by Hamas. Israel has justified its actions citing security reasons, saying it is defending its borders and blames Hamas for encouraging thousands of Palestinians to break through the border and attack Israelis.