The IDF retaliated on Tuesday, May 29, for a major Palestinian mortar assault on dozens of Israeli communities within range of the Gaza Strip some hours earlier. After counting at least 28 mortar rounds/rockets, Israel air strikes pounded Palestinian Hamas naval installations and Islamic Jihad positions in central and southern Gaza in reprisal for the heaviest barrage from the Gaza Strip since they provoked Israel’s counter-terror operation in 2014. Some explosions were caused in two kibbutzim in the Eshkol region, one of which blew up at a kindergarten shortly before the children arrived. There were no Israeli casualties, since timely sirens sent civilians to fortified areas for shelter. But cases of trauma are widespread. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman each convened security conferences to determine how to respond to the assault. Tension was already high on the Gaza-Israeli border as a result of persistent attempts by Palestinian terrorists to breach the border fence and hundreds of flaming kites setting fire to Israeli farm crops day by day.
Southern Israel was jolted again Tuesday afternoon by continuous rounds of fire from the Gaza Stripm as the Israeli air force expanded its reprisal strikes from Hamas and Islamic Jihad installations to Gaza City proper. This was the first Israeli air raid over the city in the four years since the major counter-terror operation in 2014. Palestinian projectiles are flying against multiple targets nearby and some outside the immediate neighborhood as far as Lachish and the Ashkelon industrial zone.