Israeli fighter jets struck several targets in the Gaza Strip early Monday — hours after the military’s Iron Dome defense system shot down rockets launched from the Hamas-controlled territory.
The Israel Defense Forces reported three separate rocket launches late Sunday and early Monday, saying at least two of them were intercepted by the system.
Five residents of Sderot suffered minor injuries while running to shelters when sirens blared Sunday night, the Jerusalem Post reported.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi warned that the army would “protect the Gaza border and will not accept any violation of [Israel’s] sovereignty of any kind,” according to the newspaper.
“We are vigorously attacking for every violation and we will continue to do so, and if they escalate, Hamas and the Gaza Strip will pay a heavy price,” he added.
There were no immediate reports of Palestinian casualties.
Tensions have escalated after last week’s escape from an Israeli prison by six Palestinian inmates, as well as struggling efforts by Egypt to broker a long-term cease-fire in the wake of the hostilities in May.
On Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called for a new approach to end the fighting with Hamas, describing a plan of international investment in Gaza’s infrastructure in exchange for pressure on the terror group to stop its military buildup.
“The policy Israel has pursued up until now hasn’t substantially changed the situation. We need to change direction,” Lapid said during a speech at Reichman University, north of Tel Aviv, adding that his proposal was made in consultation with the US and other countries.
Meanwhile, the IDF reported an attempted stabbing of a solider at the Gush Etzion Junction, south of Bethlehem. No soldiers were reported injured and the assailant was transported to a hospital, officials said.
Hamas is pushing for Israel to end a crippling blockade that has ravaged Gaza’s economy, while the Jewish state is demanding that the group free two captive Israeli civilians and return the remains of two dead soldiers.
With Post wires