Israel strikes 8 Hamas targets in Gaza after rocket fired at southern Israeli communities

(JTA) – A rocket fired from Gaza landed in an unpopulated area of southern Israel, spurring retaliatory airstrikes from Israel on eight Hamas targets across the coastal strip.

The launch on Wednesday night triggered the Iron Dome missile defence system and the Code Red warning sirens in the southern Israeli regional councils of Merhavim and Eshkol near the Gaza border.

The Iron Dome interceptor rocket was called off, however, after air defense units determined it would not hit a populated area. The Israel Defense Forces said the fallout from the interceptor hitting a rocket over a populated area could cause more damage than allowing the rocket to fall in an open field.

In the retaliatory strike, Israeli fighter jets hit a munitions factory among the targets, according to the IDF spokesman. Other targets included a training base and a weapons storage site.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli Air Force had fired on a Hamas post in Gaza from which incendiary balloons had been launched. Nine fires were sparked on Wednesday in Israeli communities near the Gaza border due to incendiary balloons sent from Gaza.

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