UPDATES DEATH TOLL, ADDS NETANYAHU MEETING
By Mustafa Haboush and Hani al-Shaer
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Israeli fighter jets on Monday evening struck positions across the blockaded Gaza Strip in response to the launch of scores of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, according to the Israeli army.
Along with the airstrikes, Israeli artillery units shelled positions across the Hamas-run coastal enclave.
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, at least three Palestinians have been killed by the strikes, while the Israel Broadcasting Authority has reported that seven Israelis were injured — one of them seriously — by rocket fire from Gaza.
Artillery units near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone have reportedly targeted concentrations of Palestinian activists in central Gaza, along with resistance positions in the town of Jabalia and the city of Deir al-Balah.
Israeli helicopter gunships, meanwhile, have also reportedly targeted several positions in southern Gaza.
In a joint statement, Palestinian resistance factions announced that they had begun firing rockets into southern Israel in response to an Israeli military incursion into the southern Gaza Strip late last night.
As of 7:00 p.m. Monday evening (local time), the army said it had recorded the launch of at least 80 rockets from Gaza, several of which, it claimed, had been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system.
In a separate statement, the army said it had targeted more than 20 positions inside Gaza affiliated with resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has reportedly convened an urgent meeting with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Army Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eizenkot to discuss the latest escalations.
Late Sunday night, seven Palestinians were killed — including a senior Hamas commander — when an Israeli military force staged a ground incursion into the southern Gaza Strip.
One Israeli soldier was reportedly killed in the raid and another injured, according to the Israeli army.