Israeli aircraft attacked Hamas bases in Gaza early Tuesday in response to a rocket from the Palestinian enclave targeting southern Israel hours before, officials said.
The aircraft targeted a “military compound belonging to the terrorist organisation Hamas,” a statement from the army read.
Palestinian security sources said the strikes were in Khan Younes in the south and Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, causing damage but no casualties.
Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired 18 rockets or mortar rounds at Israel in violence that erupted after US President Donald Trump’s controversial December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, six of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system.
The projectiles are often fired by fringe radical Islamist groups, but Israel holds Gaza’s militant rulers Hamas responsible for any attacks from the territory and retaliates by targeting Hamas positions.
“The IDF holds Hamas solely accountable for events in the Gaza Strip,” the army statement read, referring to the Israel Defence Forces.
Military chief of staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot said Israel was not interested in any further escalation.
“Renegade groups have an interest do disrupt the quiet and drag us into a Gaza campaign,” he said in remarks relayed by Israeli public broadcaster Kan.
“There’s no need to rush into that.”
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said a war in Gaza would be against Israel’s interests.
“We know as a fact that all the Salafis want is to drag is into a war against Hamas in Gaza.”