The IDF struck several rocket launchers in northern Gaza Wednesday, saying it refuses to allow Hamas to guard its rockets by placing them in populated areas.

PA sources claimed three teenagers and children were killed in the strike. The children were apparently sent by Hamas terrorists to adjust the launchers. The IDF identified five launchers with suspicious figures moving among them and launched the strike.

The previous night, IDF soldiers intercepted a 15-year-old suicide bomber dispatched from northern Gaza.

“We are not talking about the first time this has happened,” military correspondent Avi Yissacharov told Army Radio. “This phenomenon of Hamas paying ten shekels to children in order to retrieve the launchers has become the norm. The terrorists launch the rockets from afar via remote control and know that if they approach the launchers they will be hit, so they send young children.”

An IDF statement said: “As part of the ongoing IDF defensive activity to protect Israeli civilians from terror threats this afternoon, the IDF targeted several Kassam launchers in the Beit Hanoun industrial area, which were placed by Palestinian terrorists and aimed at Israel. Several Palestinians were identified handling the launchers at the time. This area is often used to fire Kassam rockets at Israel.

“The IDF received claims that the Palestinians handling the launchers were teenagers. The IDF wishes to express sorrow for the cynical use the terror organizations make of the active participation of teenagers in terror attacks.”

Nearly 300 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel from Gaza in the past month alone. Hours before the Gaza incident, a rocket slammed into fields outside Kibbutz Nir-Am, in the western Negev. On Tuesday, a man was wounded by shrapnel from a rocket that slammed into a Sderot home.

Kalkilya Operation Ends

An IDF arrest operation in PA-controlled Kalkilya, located northeast of Tel Aviv, came to an end Wednesday evening after a long day of clashes between soldiers and local Arabs.

As the troops entered the town Wednesday morning, three terrorists opened fire on troops and then fled.

Local Arabs then began to riot, targeting the troops with a constant barrage of stones and Molotov Cocktails. More than 30 PA rioters were lightly wounded when troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, refraining from using live ammunition despite the presence of snipers and armed men among the rioters.

A wanted terrorist who was hiding in a local compound managed to escape, but another terrorist, who threw a firebomb at the troops, was arrested.

12 Terrorists Arrested Overnight

IDF soldiers caught 12 PA Arab fugitives during routine counter-terrorism operations in Judea and Samaria.

No injuries were reported in the overnight activities.