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25 Mar, 2019 19:19

IDF confirms targeting Hamas leader Haniyeh’s Gaza office in retaliatory strike

IDF confirms targeting Hamas leader Haniyeh’s Gaza office in retaliatory strike

Israeli airstrikes have hit the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, the IDF said. It confirms earlier Palestinian reports that the strikes, coming in response to a lone rocket fired into Israel had high-profile targets.

The bombed building, the Israel Defense Forces said, was previously targeted in a 2012 Israeli bombing campaign, codenamed ‘Cloud Pillar,’ and is regularly used by Hamas leadership to hold military meetings.

The strike on Haniyeh’s office was initially reported on Hamas’ radio network. Haniyeh himself had reportedly gone into hiding earlier on Monday, expecting an Israeli strike. In a written statement, the Hamas leader said the Palestinian people “will not surrender,” and “will deter the enemy.”

After bombing Haniyeh's office, The IDF took to twitter to gloat. "What do you do at your office each day? Send emails? Create spreadsheets? Make phone calls?," the IDF tweeted. "Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh uses his office in order to lead a brutal terrorist organization in a war of aggression against Israel. We just destroyed his office."

Israeli warplanes and helicopters also targeted Hamas’ military intelligence headquarters and internal security service offices in Gaza, according to the IDF’s twitter account.

Palestinian militants responded to the airstrikes by launching rockets at Israeli towns near the Gaza border, according to the IDF. Minutes after the IDF confirmed hitting Haniyeh’s office, air-raid sirens sounded across southern Israel.

Monday’s airstrikes came after a rocket launched from Gaza hit an Israeli family’s home north of Tel Aviv in the early hours of the morning, injuring seven people. Israel responded by calling up reserve soldiers and mobilizing armor and infantry brigades, before launching airstrikes on Monday afternoon.

Also on rt.com Israel starts striking Hamas targets throughout Gaza in response to rocket attack

As the strikes were ordered, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut his trip to Washington short to return home. Before departing the US, Netanyahu was in attendance while US President Donald Trump signed a declaration recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, annexed from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Trump condemned the rocket attack, and voiced his support for Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

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