Israel retaliates after Hamas fires dozens of rockets from Gaza

Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks in Istanbul Turkey

Israeli warplanes struck Hamas positions in Gaza after Palestinian militants there fired dozens of rockets and mortars at southern communities early Wednesday, the military said.

IDF sources have been telling Israel's media that if there are a few more nights or days of battles like the one last night, Israel would act, either as a result of a decision by the political echelon under growing pressure from the residents of the Gaza Strip, or, more certainly, as a result of an incident involving casualties on the Israeli side.

Seven rockets were downed by the Iron Dome missile shield, according to a military spokesperson, while at least six landed in Israeli communities - including one which fell near a kindergarten hours before children were due to arrive.

Read the full story. Several people were reportedly injured in the raids.

Israeli jets bombed 25 targets including Hamas military compounds, the army said.

Smaller militant groups, like the Islamic Jihad, operate semi-independently of Hamas and have previously fired rockets from Israel.

Hamas has failed to bring large crowds to the border since more than 60 Palestinians were killed in confrontations with troops timed to coincide with the May 14 opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

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"The Hamas terror organization targeted Israeli civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket attack, and is dragging the Gaza Strip and its civilians down a continually deteriorating path", the army said in a statement.

On Sunday, the IDF pounded Hamas targets in the enclave following numerous arson attacks the day before, warning that it had the "intelligence knowledge and operational capability" to conduct additional strikes if the balloon and kite attacks continued.

"The IDF is prepared to continue operating with increased intensity and with various means in response to these terror attacks", an IDF representative said.

Hamas, the militant group which rules the Gaza Strip, has not claimed responsibility for the projectile fire.

A Hamas spokesman said that, as part of a policy of "bombardment for bombardment", the barrages were retaliation for an earlier Israeli air strike.

Israeli forces have killed more than 120 Palestinians and wounded more than 3,800 during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30. It accuses Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover for attacks.

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