Israel returns fire on Gaza following reports of IDF intrusion

Israel returns fire on Gaza following reports of IDF intrusion
Israel bombed two targets in the Gaza Strip as a response to earlier fire from across the border, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Palestinians had fired at Israel after an IDF incursion reportedly took place on the Strip’s eastern border.

Israeli "aircraft targeted two concealed rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip,” the IDF stated.

The attack was in response to rocket and mortar round being fired at Israel on Wednesday, AFP quoted army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner as saying.

"Launching rockets against Israel and its civilians is a breach of our sovereignty. We maintain the right to operate against those who are involved in terror," Lerner said.

There were no reported casualties from any of the attacks. 

A Palestinian man rides a motorcycle with his children past masked militants of Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, as they parade in Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, on November 14, 2013 (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

Witnesses described the Israeli military’s earlier crossing into Gaza from the east. "Six military bulldozers accompanied by several tanks entered about 200 metres (yards) from the border into farmland, as helicopters and spy planes circled above near the village of Khuzaa," one witness told AFP. "Resistance fighters fired several mortar rounds at the Israeli forces and explosions were heard in the area." 

Militant group Islamic Jihad reportedly responded with mortar fire, but there was no mention of rocket fire. Hamas has taken two of the fighters into custody. 

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported that Hamas' military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility for the mortar fire. 

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, an eight-day attack launched on November 14, 2012 on the Gaza Strip. The operation killed Ahmed Jabari, chief of the al-Quds Brigades.

Thousands of members of the military wing marched in the Gaza Strip to commemorate the date on Thursday, while Hamas threatened to retaliate against Israel’s latest attacks, Haaretz reported.

Palestinians look at Hamas militants as they rappel down a building during a military parade marking the first anniversary of the eight-day conflict with Israel, in Gaza City November 14, 2013. (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a military parade marking the first anniversary of the eight-day conflict with Israel, in Gaza City November 14, 2013. (Reuters / Suhaib Salem)