IAF airstrike in Gaza (archive)
IAF airstrike in Gaza (archive)AFP photo

Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft targeted several terror-related sites in Gaza on Thursday night, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

According to the statement, the airstrikes targeted a weapons facility and a terrorist center in northern Gaza, as well as a weapons storage site in southern Gaza.

Direct hits were identified, and all aircraft returned safely to their bases, the IDF said.

The attack was a direct response to earlier rockets and mortars that targeted southern Israel, the statement said, referring to an attack Thursday evening which targeted the city of Netivot.

“The IDF views all firing at Israeli territory as very serious and will continue to act strongly against anyone who carries out terror against the State of Israel,” the statement declared, placing the responsibility for all rocket attacks on the Hamas terror group which controls Gaza.

The rocket fired by terrorists earlier Thursday exploded in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, causing no physical injuries or damages.

The "Color Red" siren was sounded in the surrounding communities. It was the first time since Israel’s counterterrorism Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 that a Gaza rocket struck near Netivot.

Exchanges with Gaza have picked up lately, as reports noted 17 rockets had been fired from Gaza in the first 17 days of January, leading security officials to declare the Egyptian-brokered Operation Pillar of Defense ceasefire as moot and dead.

Last week, IAF aircraft struck in Gaza and eliminated a terrorist who was involved in rocket attacks on Israel.

The terrorist, Ahmed Zaaneen from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), had been involved in rocket attacks on southern Israel in recent days and was planning further attacks.

Among his most recent attacks was the launching of rockets during the funeral of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on January 15, the IDF said.