The Israeli army announced March 27 that it had struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket launched toward a settlement in the Gaza envelope on the same day. No injuries were reported. Thousands of Israelis rushed to shelters; this was the first escalation since the coronavirus outbreak in February. Palestinians and Israelis have been staying home as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
No Palestinian faction declared responsibility for the rockets, but Israel shelled Hamas positions because Gaza is under Hamas’ control. Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Breem said in a statement March 28 that Israel is exploiting the world’s preoccupation with fighting the coronavirus to tighten the blockade on Gaza.