In the early hours of March 31, the Israeli military struck targets inside the Gaza Strip following the launch of several rockets from the besieged Palestinian region.
“5 rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel,” the Israeli military said on Twitter, without providing any addition information.
Palestinian sources said that the Israeli artillery strike targeted at least one observation post of the Hamas Movement east of the area of Deir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip. Initial reports indicate that no one was injured or killed as a result of the strike.
This new escalation came only hours after a fresh wave of protests by civilians along the separation fence around the Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources said that 4 protestors were killed by the Israeli military fire, while dozens others were injured.
The Palestinian rocket attack, which targeted the Israeli Eshkol Regional Council, was clearly a response to the death of the four protestors.
Over the last few days, the Israeli military massed large forces around the Gaza Strip in anticipation for any possible Palestinian attack. A high number of artillery and tanks was deployed around the Palestinian region for the first time in years.
The Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been negotiating with Gaza factions for days now through Egypt. While the Israeli PM is not interested in any pricy military option that could further damage his deteriorating popularity, the radical wing in the government and the Knesset may take advantage of this new attack to push for a large-scale operation.