Islamic militant group Hamas has vowed revenge on Israel for the death of seven of its members in an airstrike early today.
Hamas warned “the enemy will pay a tremendous price,” referring to Israel.
The group said its men were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a tunnel used by the militants.
Two militants from a different group were also killed in a separate strike. The men were involved in rocket attacks on southern Israeli communities, the Israeli military said.
Israel said it carried out airstrikes on at least “14 terror sites” including “concealed rocket launchers” in Gaza overnight in retaliation to a recent spike in attacks from Gaza.
About a dozen rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza overnight, the military said. One injured a soldier.
Gaza militants fired 25 rockets at Israel yesterday, the military said.
Lt Col Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said the rocket attacks are “unbearable and unacceptable”.
“We will continue to act in order to debilitate and incapacitate the Hamas terror infrastructure striking its warehouses, rocket manufacturing capabilities and those that endanger the well-being of the Israelis in the south of the country,” he said.
Tensions have soared in Israel and Palestinian territories since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the West Bank last month.
Last week, their bodies were found in a West Bank field in a gruesome crime Israel blamed on the Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which has kidnapped Israelis before, praised the kidnappings and deaths of the teenagers but did not take responsibility for it.
Just hours after the youths were buried, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian-American from east Jerusalem, was abducted near his home, and his charred remains were found a short time later in a Jerusalem forest.
Israel arrested six Jewish suspects yesterday for the crime as Israeli leaders appealed for calm amid signs the death was revenge for the recent killings of the three Israeli teens.
Khdeir’s killing set off a wave of violent Palestinian protests in and around Jerusalem that later spread to Arab towns in the north.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, condemned the murder of the Palestinian teen.
Mr Netanyahu promised to prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law.
“We will not allow extremists, it doesn’t matter from which side, to inflame the region and cause bloodshed,” he Netanyahu said in a nationally televised statement soon after it was announced that the suspects were Israeli.
“Murder is murder, incitement is incitement, and we will respond aggressively to both,” he said.