IDF bombs Gaza sites, including Haniyeh’s office, after rocket hits Israeli home

The Israeli military said it bombed dozens of targets throughout the Gaza Strip on Monday evening, including the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in response to a rocket fired from the coastal enclave that slammed into a home in central Israel, injuring seven people.

The Israeli Defense Forces began its hours-long bombing campaign shortly after 5:30 p.m., some 12 hours after the initial attack — the farthest reaching rocket strike since the 2014 Gaza war.

Approximately three hours into its bombing campaign, terror groups in the Gaza Strip began launching dozens of mortar shells and rockets at southern Israel, triggering air raid sirens throughout the region, the IDF said.

No injuries were reported. Light damage was caused to a home in the southern town of Sderot.

At least three Palestinians were wounded in the Israeli strikes, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Israeli fighter jets targeted a building used as an office by Haniyeh in the upscale Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, the military said. The Hamas leader was not in the building at the time, having fled for shelter on Monday morning following the early morning rocket attack on central Israel.

Photographs of the scene showed a large fireball coming from the building, which the IDF said had also been bombed in the 2012 conflict known as Operation Pillar of Defense.

According to Palestinian media, the IDF used the so-called “knock on the roof” technique, in which a non-explosive round is fired at a building to scare off those inside before the real attack.

The Israeli military identified another of its targets in Gaza as a “secret headquarters” of Hamas used by its intelligence services and located in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City.

“Fighter jets just now attacked a three-story building in the area of Sabra in the Gaza Strip. This is a secret headquarters of the Hamas terror group, which is used by the internal security, central intelligence and military intelligence branches of the group,” the IDF said in a statement.

Palestinian media said the building, which was leveled in the Israeli attack, belonged to the al-Multazem insurance company.

The Israeli military later released footage of the strike, showing a missile striking the building and triggering a large explosion. A hole in the top of the structure indicated that the air force had also used the “knock on the roof” technique on the building.

“This is a central asset of the Hamas terror group, which is being attacked along with other strikes the IDF is conducting now in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said.

The military said it was also targeting a five-story building in Rimal that was used by the Hamas terror group’s internal security service.

The IDF also bombed targets in Rimal connected to Hamas’s internal security service last August and November in response to rocket and mortar attacks.

Israel began its retaliatory strikes around the same time as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US President Donald Trump in Washington. In comments from the White House, Netanyahu said, “Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression.”

The raids began soon after an Egyptian military intelligence delegation left the Strip, where its attempts to broker a ceasefire reportedly failed.

In addition to the three high profile targets, the IDF said it bombed dozens of other Hamas military sites.

“In the attack, military bases, the entrances to tunnels used for weapons smuggling, observation posts and rocket launchpads were bombed,” the IDF said.

The targets were located in Khan Younis, Deir el-Balah, Rafah, Gaza City, al-Shati and Beit Hanoun.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-begins-bombarding-gaza-terror-targets-after-rocket-flattens-israeli-home/