Israeli aircraft struck in Gaza on Wednesday hours after rockets from the Palestinian enclave triggered sirens that forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu off the stage at an election rally in Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces said that 15 targets were hit, including a weapons manufacturing facility, a naval compound used by terrorists and Hamas terror tunnels.
An eyewitness reported seeing a large blast in the area of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, as well as additional attacks on the southern and northern parts of the enclave.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Hours earlier, bodyguards rushed Netanyahu to shelter in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod when the sirens sounded during a Tuesday evening rally, a week ahead of a general election.
Netanyahu was unhurt and several minutes later he continued his speech, which was broadcast live on social media by his right-wing Likud party.
The Israeli military said two rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip toward Ashdod and another port city, Ashkelon, just to the south, and were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
It said Wednesday’s strikes in Gaza came in response to the rocket launches.
Hamas officials, in a message to Israel through an Egyptian emissary, said the organization was not behind the rocket fire. However, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit issued a statement saying the Israeli military would “continue to act against attempts to harm Israel’s citizens, and holds the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for what transpires in the Gaza Strip.”
Tuesday’s rocket attack interrupted a Likud campaign rally shortly after Netanyahu announced a plan to annex the Jordan Valley if re-elected in the national ballot on Sept. 17.
After being taken away by security guards, Netanyahu returned minutes later and continued addressing the crowd.
No injuries were reported. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket launches.
The Israeli military said it was investigating.
The IDF remains on high alert over concerns there will be those who, with one week remaining to Israel’s election, will try to stir tensions on the country’s southern front.
The Israel Police, meanwhile, has bolstered its presence in the country’s south following the rocket fire in an effort to assuage the public.
“We are prepared for any scenario,” the Israel Police said in a statement.