The Israeli Defense Forces unleashed airstrikes on tunnels and weapons manufacturing sites in the Gaza Strip early Friday morning, several hours after militants launched rockets at northern Israel from Lebanon.
Palestinian militants also fired rockets from the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, though they were intercepted by Israel’s air defenses.
The latest volley comes amid rising tensions in the region, as the Jewish Passover began on Wednesday and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan continues.
IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said at a news briefing that Israel believes Palestinian militants launched 34 rockets from southern Lebanon earlier in the day. Five of them fell on Israeli territory, while 25 were intercepted by air defenses and four others had an unclear landing spot.
“It’s a Palestinian-oriented event,” Lt. Hecht said, adding that Israel believes Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group that controls much of southern Lebanon, was aware of the attack.
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The rocket fire came after Israeli police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City twice Wednesday. Muslims flock to the mosque, which resides on the foundations of the Jewish Temple Mount, during the holy month of Ramadan.
Many Muslim visitors have attempted to stay at the mosque overnight, prompting raids that have been widely condemned by Muslims worldwide.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his cabinet Thursday. His office tweeted that Israeli officials “have no intention of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount.”
“We are calling for calming the situation and we will take strong action against extremists who use violence there,” the prime minister’s office tweeted.
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An 11-day war broke out between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last year after similar tensions during Ramadan and the Passover.
Addressing the rockets that were fired from Lebanon and Gaza this week, Netanyahu said that the “citizens of Israel stand united and unified” in support of the IDF.
“Israel’s response, tonight and later, will exact a significant price from our enemies,” Netanyahu tweeted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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