By Mohammed Tawfeeq, Jennifer Hauser and Jessie Yeung, CNN
Israel carried out airstrikes in Gaza early on Thursday after intercepting a rocket attack from the coastal enclave, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.
In a Twitter post, the IDF said Israeli fighter jets targeted a chemical production site and a weapons manufacturing facility owned by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza.
“The IDF holds Hamas responsible for all terrorism activity emanating from Gaza and it will face the consequences of the security violations against Israel,” the IDF wrote.
On Wednesday, the IDF reported that one rocket fired from Gaza had been intercepted by the IDF Aerial Defense Array.
On Thursday, it released two videos of the airstrikes, filmed in black and white, that showed huge plumes of dark smoke in the air and pieces of debris falling to the ground.
It’s not clear whether there were any casualties.
The official Palestinian News & Information Agency reported that F-16 warplanes had launched at least five missiles at a “site” in the central Gaza Strip, setting it on fire and damaging nearby homes. Two missiles also hit agricultural land in the central area, it said.
The strike comes after a period of bloodshed on both sides. Last Thursday Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians and wounded several others in the West Bank city of Jenin, in the deadliest day for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in nearly two years. This was followed by a shooting near a Jerusalem synagogue Friday night, which Israel has deemed one of its worst terror attacks in recent years.
It also follows US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Israel and the West Bank this week, which some had hoped would help cool rising tensions.
The Biden administration has been careful in its language and sought to publicly avoid criticizing the new government in Israel, which is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and includes controversial far-right ministers.
On Wednesday, Blinken reiterated the administration’s goal of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and said the US “will continue to oppose anything that puts that goal further from reach.”
Last year was the deadliest for both Palestinians in the West Bank and for Israelis in nearly two decades, CNN analysis of official statistics on both sides showed.
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