The exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Hamas militants began at night, when the Israel Air Force started hitting militants' targets in the Gaza Strip in response to Friday's border riots by Palestinians accompanied with launching of arson balloons and burning kites with the aim to provoke fires in Israel.
The IDF has struck Hamas with the hardest blow since Operation Protective Edge and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary. pic.twitter.com/IPvY2o1XE3— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 14, 2018
"The IDF has struck Hamas with the hardest blow since Operation Protective Edge and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary. In consultation with the Minister of Defense, the IDF Chief-of-Staff and the heads of the security services, we have decided on strong action against Hamas terrorism," Netanyahu said in a statement published on Twitter.
At least three Israelis were injured in the southern town of Sderot after a rocket launched by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip hit a residential building in the area, according to Israel's national ambulance service Magen David Adom (MDA).
Gaza Healthcare Ministry spokesman Ashraf Qidra told Sputnik that two Palestinians were killed and 14 were injured as a result of Israeli strikes on Gaza on Saturday.
Hostilities between the Israelis and the Palestinians near the Gaza border increased since late March, which marked the beginning of the Palestinian protest campaign against Israel, dubbed the Great March of Return.
According to the Palestinian authorities, some 140 people have been killed and thousands of others wounded by the Israeli forces since then.