Gaza-based groups have launched more than a dozen rockets at Israel since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last week, making southern Israel the main flashpoint of violence since the announcement.
While the border had been quiet for months, some 16 rocket launches since the announcement have triggered sirens that sent Israelis running for cover in the southern communities and caused holiday events to be canceled.
Several rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system while others have struck open fields or buildings that were empty at the time — including a kindergarten.
“I expect the prime minister, the defense minister, and the IDF commander to strike the terror groups without mercy,” Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said. “We will not tolerate the continued fire at the city of Sderot.”
Sderot and other communities in area have been battered with thousands of rockets fired from Gaza over the last decade.
The IDF targeted Hamas military facilities in the Gaza Strip in retaliatory airstrikes, an army spokesman said.
Hadashot news reported that the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council canceled a soccer tournament scheduled for Hanukkah after many parents contacted organizers with their safety concerns.
Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, has called for a new intifada against Israel since Trump’s announcement. Hamas media outlets are encouraging Gaza citizens to protest at the border, while others are launching rockets.