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IDF Planes Launch Strikes in Gaza After Israeli Bus Hit by Mortar Fire (VIDEO)

© AP Photo / Joe CavarettaAn Israeli Air Force F-15 (File)
An Israeli Air Force F-15 (File) - Sputnik International
The attack follows an operation in the southern Gaza Strip which led to the deaths of at least seven Palestinians, including Hamas commander, and one Israeli officer, while another Israeli trooper was wounded. The Islamic Jihad vowed to avenge the operation by striking Israel.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) stated on Monday that Israel carried out air strikes against terrorists "throughout the Gaza Strip," attacking over 30 targets in response to mortar fire from the enclave. The IDF also announced it had brought reinforcements to the Gaza border, being ready to expand combat against Palestinian militants.

"The Israel Defense Forces also deployed a significant number of additional forces and military equipment [at the border with Gaza]. We are ready to expand our actions against terrorist organizations," IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said.

The shelling from the Gaza Strip, which triggered the airstrikes, directly hit a bus in Kfar Aza earlier in the day, wounding at least one person, according to Israeli television channels. At the same time, The Jerusalem Post claimed that the vehicle was empty at the time of the strike, but confirmed that a 19-year-old Israeli man was in serious condition because of the attack.

Later, Hamas claimed responsibility for the mortar shelling. According to Israeli ambulance service, at least 7 people were injured during the attack. At the same time, Gaza officials claimed that 5 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli airstrikes, however, the IDF didn't confirm the statement.

Following the incident, Israel activated its Iron Dome aerial defence system, which intercepted 60 of over than 200 projectiles, launched against the country.

The Israel Defence Forces stated that warning sirens were sounding across the southern part of the country.

Tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians near the Gaza border have been escalating since late March, which marked the beginning of the Great March of Return. Up to 220 Palestinians, including children and media workers, have been killed by Israeli troops during violent clashes between protesters and the IDF.

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