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IDF Confronts Hamas in Gaza Amid  Annexation Plans

IDF Troops at the Gaza Border, Photo, IDF Spokesman's Office

JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it struck multiple targets in the Gaza Strip Monday night in response to a rocket fired from the coastal enclave into Israel.

The military said its fighter jets and tanks “targeted underground Hamas infrastructure and military posts” near Rafiah and Khan Younis in Gaza.

The rocket fired earlier by terrorists in the Gaza Strip triggered sirens in Israel’s Eshkol region. The weapon landed in an open area and no one was injured.

No terror group in the Gaza Strip claimed responsibility for the rocket, but Israel holds Hamas, the terror group that governs the area, responsible for everything that happens in Gaza.

The rocket attack follows months of relative quiet and comes amid rising tensions over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push to annex parts of the West Bank.

Hamas and the rival Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group have threatened to ramp up attacks to fight the annexation.

Senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil called for “the annexation project to be confronted with resistance in all forms” during a press conference on Monday.

Although Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank are bitter rivals, Bardawil said there needed to be a  “union of the political class” and called for a meeting between Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization – an umbrella group that includes various other Palestinian organizations.

Both Hamas and the PA vehemently oppose Netanyahu’s annexation plans.

Hamas deputy political chief Saleh al-Arouri told the Hamas-linked al-Resalah TV channel that the group is planning “mass actions” “in all regions,” to stop the annexation.

“We cannot exclude the possibility that — in the wake of Israeli aggression — matters may reach a point of escalation in the confrontation, which might lead to military escalation,” al-Arouri said.

Netanyahu has set a July 1 deadline to begin the controversial annexation.

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