Photo Credit: Avi Roccah / Flash 90
Long-exposure photo shows Iron Dome interception over Ashkelon. (archive)

Israeli military forces attacked three Hamas targets in Gaza on Saturday in response to rocket fire aimed in the wee hours at the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.

Israeli families in Ashkelon and surrounding communities were awakened by the Red Alert incoming rocket siren and forced to grab their sleeping children and race for cover to bomb shelters in the middle of the night.

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The IDF bombed a weapons factory and three outposts linked to Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

The rocket, fired shortly after 3 am Saturday, was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, indicating it was headed for a populated area.

It was the first time in two months that Gaza terrorists fired a rocket at Israel.

Following the IDF retaliation, Gaza terrorists targeted the southern border community of Netiv Ha’Asara with machine gun fire, hitting the wall of one residential home. There were no physical injuries reported.

Last week the IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced it would issue an additional 2,000 permits to allow Gaza citizens to enter Israel for work and commerce.

But that decision was suspended on Saturday following the rocket fire aimed at Ashkelon.

“The suspension is in response to the firing of a rocket toward the State of Israel,” COGAT said in a statement, adding that “Hamas terror organization carries responsibility for all activities directed against Israel in and from the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.