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Israel strikes Gaza in retaliation for rocket fire related to Gilboa prison escape

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet releases flare near Sderot, in southern Israel on the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2021 [JACK GUEZ / AFP via Getty Images]
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet releases flare near Sderot, in southern Israel on the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2021 [JACK GUEZ / AFP via Getty Images]

Israel carried out air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, allegedly in response to Palestinian rocket fire into its territory, the Israeli military said.

Tension between Israel and the Palestinians has risen over the past week, after six Palestinians escaped from a maximum security Israeli jail on Monday. Israeli forces have since captured four of the inmates.

Drawing Israeli air strikes, Gaza militants allegedly fired a rocket into Israel on Friday when two of the prisoners were apprehended and then again on Saturday, after two more escaped inmates were caught. The Israeli military said it struck targets belonging to Hamas. There were no reports of casualties.

A fragile truce between Israel and Hamas ended 11 days of fierce fighting in May in which at least 250 Palestinians and 13 in Israel were killed.

Read: Who are Palestinian escapees from Israel's Gilboa prison?

Last week's prison break had left Israel confounded, as six inmates dug their way out of the maximum security Gilboa prison and managed to escape without detection.

The six escapees dug the hole over a period of time with nothing but a rusty spoon, and hid the entrance point with a loose floorboard.

The six Palestinians left at around 1:00am local time, and emerged directly beneath the watch tower, where, according to security sources, the guard in the watch tower had fallen asleep.

The six men then continued on foot to a waiting vehicle, where some got in and others continued walking.

The alarm was initially raised by a citizen on Israel's Route 71, who claimed to have seen figures running through fields, arousing suspicions of a prison break. Subsequent reports included that of one from a gas station attendant who had seen a strange man apparently passing through.

Three prisoners were reported missing by prison staff at around 03:30am, which was then increased to six unaccounted for at 4am.

The Gilboa prison break is believed to be Israel's most successful instance of escaping a high security jail.

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