by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Israel carried out air strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning after 16 rockets were fired at Israeli towns from the enclave hours earlier, the Times of Israel (TOI) reports. The escalation comes on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday, which this year coincides with the Islamic religious month of Ramadan.
Although the rockets were reportedly fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihadists, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all hostile operations emerging from Gaza as they rule the Strip, TOI reports.
One of Wednesday’s rockets from Gaza hit and damaged a factory in the Israeli town of Sderot; eight of the others were shot down by Israel Defense Forces.
Wednesday’s exchange and air strikes and rockets followed overnight clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians who had reportedly armed themselves with weapons and had barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, TOI reports. Israeli authorities said 350 people were arrested during the standoff.
In a statement about Israel’s response to the rocket fire, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said: “The government of which I am a member should respond strongly to the rocket fire from Gaza. Hamas rockets necessitate a response beyond the bombing of dunes and uninhabited sites.”