Palestinian security personnel inspect a damaged building after overnight Israeli air raids in the central Gaza Strip, June 28, 2014. Mahmud Hams/ AFP/ Getty Images
The Israeli military carried out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip Sunday, saying the strikes were in retaliation for six rockets from Gaza that struck Israel the previous evening.
Two of the rockets from the Hamas-ruled territory hit a factory in the southern town of Sderot, setting it ablaze.
Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, suggested reoccupying Gaza to stop the rocket fire, saying that limited military operations against armed groups in Gaza have only strengthened Hamas.
"Either with each round we attack terror infrastructure and they shoot, or we go to full occupation," Lieberman said on Army Radio.
The military said it targeted 12 "terror activity" sites in Gaza where rockets had been launched or manufactured.
It is unclear if there were causalities from the attacks.On Friday, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinians in Gaza who were members of the Tawhid Brigades, an armed group unaffiliated with Hamas, according to Palestinian security officials and fighters from the group. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
The security officials had initially said the two Palestinians were members of a different Hamas-allied armed group, al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, that often fires rockets at Israel.
More than 60 rockets have been launched from Gaza towards Israel this month – more than four times the number launched in May — and 28 of the rockets hit Israeli territory, the Israeli military said. The crude, makeshift devices rarely wound anyone, but they have caused damage and panic in Israeli communities.
The increase in attacks comes as the Israeli army continues a wide-ranging operation in the West Bank to search for three Israeli youths who went missing this month.
The three teens, between the ages of 16 and 19, disappeared near a Jewish seminary at an illegal Israeli settlement as they were hitchhiking in the West Bank. In their last communication, one of the three managed to phone police Thursday night to report that they were being kidnapped, according to an Israeli security official.
Israel named two members of Hamas as leading suspects in the alleged kidnapping. Although Israel has accused Hamas of being involved, it has provided no solid evidence to support the claim.
Israel in the past week arrested several hundred Palestinians in aggressive house-to-house raids throughout the West Bank, which at times turned deadly and led some rights groups to accuse Israel of imposing collective punishment on civilians.