(JTA) – At least 12 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel amid an escalation of hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system took out several rockets, but one of them landed near a house in Sderot on Friday, causing extensive damage. No one was wounded from the rockets. Israeli troops have responded with artillery fire on at least three occasions since Thursday. Exchanges of fire have taken place since Saturday and military sources in Israel are saying the army is preparing for a wide-scale operation if the situation persists. The current round of fighting began on August 13, when incendiary balloons released in Gaza toward Israel caused major fires. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered retaliatory strikes and warned Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, that they “will pay a heavy price” if their activities persist. Hamas responded with rocket fire, provoking fresh Israeli strikes.
Main Photo: Israeli soldiers walk near an Iron Dome anti-missile battery in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Aug. 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)