GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories- The Israeli air force launched dozens of raids on the Gaza Strip overnight after massive rocket fire from the enclave pounded southern Israel, leaving 17 people injured, sources said Tuesday.
An Israeli army spokesman confirmed an air operation code-named Protective Edge had been launched, but did not give details.
Several houses were targeted in the raids on the southern Gaza Strip, notably in Khan Yunes, witnesses said.
Israel has “crossed a red line by attacking houses”, warned the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamist Hamas movement which has its stronghold in Gaza.
“If this policy does not stop we will respond by enlarging the radius of our targets to the point where the enemy will be surprised,” it said in a statement.
The attacks left 17 people injured, including seven children and two women. Two of the injured are in serious condition, Palestinian medics said.
“About 50 objects were targeted including four houses of activists, rocket launch sites and infrastructure,” the Israeli army spokesman said, adding that the operation aimed to hit Hamas and reduce the number of rockets fired at Israel.
Reinforcements were deployed near the Gaza Strip, so a ground attack can be launched if need be, he added. More reinforcements would “be gradually mobilized in the next days”.