Israel launches fresh round of airstrikes on several locations in Gaza
Palestinians from Gaza sit amidst the aftermath and rubble of Israeli airstrikes. (AFP/Roberto Schmidt)
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Israeli forces in the early morning on Saturday launched airstrikes at several sites allegedly used by Palestinian political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli and local sources said.
Local sources said Israeli warplanes launched rockets at two sites reportedly used by al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in the southern part of Gaza City, and targeted missiles at five other locations allegedly used by al-Qassam Brigades and al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.
Missiles struck a site in Beit Lahiya, a blacksmith workshop in the neighborhood of Zaytun, a site near the al-Irsal tower east of Jabaliya, empty land near an al-Quds Brigades' site northwest of Beit Lahiya, and a shed near an agricultural college east of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, according to locals.
However, an Israeli army statement reported that the Israeli army targeted four locations in the northern and central Gaza Strip that were "components of Hamas' operational infrastructure."
No injuries were reported, despite heavy property damage.
The statement said that the airstrikes on the besieged enclave were in response to a rocket launched from Gaza on Friday evening at southern Israel, striking the Israeli city of Sderot and causing damage to a building.
Israel holds the Hamas movement responsible for all rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, although other Palestinian militant groups are active in the small Palestinian enclave.
Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner said that the rocket attack in Sderot was a "horrific reminder of the intentions of terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip to target communities, people, men women and children."
The Israeli airstrikes come some two months after an upturn in violence in the besieged enclave, as Israeli forces sustained airstrikes on the small territory for several consecutive days in May allegedly in response to cross-border mortar shelling and a rocket being fired from the Gaza Strip during Israeli operations inside the border of the enclave to uncover Hamas-built tunnels.
The majority of the more than 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to a near-decade long military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.
The crippling blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah in control of the occupied West Bank.
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