The Israel Defense Forces announced that is has commenced military strikes on Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening following a rocket attack earlier in the day that destroyed a home in central Israel and injured seven.
“We have just started striking Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip,” the IDF Spokesperson Unit wrote on Twitter.
The strikes in Gaza come after a rocket destroyed a home in the central Israel agricultural town of Mishmeret, which injured seven people, including two babies.
The rocket is believed to have been fired from southern Gaza, approximately 60 miles from its target, the longest-range attack from Gaza since the 2014 Gaza war. Earlier in March, two rockets were also fired on Tel Aviv for the first time since 2014 as well.
Ahead of the strikes, residents of southern Israel near the Gaza border were warned to expect to hear explosions.
“In a short time, explosions will be heard as part of the IDF’s offensive activities. In light of this, please be more aware, abide by all safety instructions, and if air-raid sirens are heard, please enter a protected space and remain there for at least 10 minutes,” the Sdot Negev Regional Council told residents.
The IDF has also deployed additional Iron Dome air defense systems throughout the country as part of precautionary steps.
Just before the impending strikes, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Israel will pay for carrying out “stupidity at the expense of Gaza.”
“The cost of the Israeli occupation perpetrating any stupidity at the expense of Gaza or its resistance will be above its estimations, and it will find itself standing in front of a strong resistance ready for this day and completely prepared to fight the battle of deterrence and defending our people,” he wrote on Twitter.