Hamas claims responsibility for firing rockets

Hamas has claimed responsibility for firing 10 long-range missiles into southern Israel.

Hamas said its armed wing, Izzaddin al-Kassam, fired 10 Grad missiles into Israel June 19. At least 40 rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel that day.

Hamas also took responsibility for firing several rockets that landed in Ashkelon the previous day but did not cause any damage or injuries. The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that the rockets were targeting a nearby military base.

Following that attack, the Israeli air force fired on what it called a terrorist cell planting explosives near Israel’s border with Gaza. Ma’an reported that two 16-year-old boys were killed in the strike.

Residents of communities near the Gaza border have been put on high alert and told to stay close to bomb shelters.

The attacks followed an escalating series of cross-border attacks June 18 between Israel and alleged Palestinian terrorists in which four Palestinians were killed.

More than 275 rockets have been fired this year at Israel from the Gaza Strip, Israel’s military said. — jta