Israeli airstrike kills pregnant woman and toddler in Gaza

Published October 11th, 2015 - 08:30 GMT

An Israeli airstrike targeted a building near a home in Gaza City during the earliest hours of Sunday morning, killing apregnantwoman and her 2-year-old daughter after their home collapsed, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza said.

Ashraf al-Qidra said the woman, identified as Nour Rasmi Hassan was five months pregnant during the time of her death, her daughter Rahaf Yahya Hassan was also killed, and three other family members were injured when their house was damaged from the airstrike near the al-Maslakh mosque in southern Gaza City.

Hours before the airstrike, sirens sounded across southern Israel, as a single rocket was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome in an area south of Ashkelon.

No Injuries were reported.

According to a statement from the Israeli army, Israeli forces responded to Gaza's rocket with an airstrikes on "two Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities in the northern Gaza Strip."

The statement made no mention of any deaths or damages to civilian homes.

Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner said that Israeli forces hold Hamas responsible for any "act of aggression" from the Gaza Strip.

"This weekend we have seen clear incitement encouraging the breach of Israel's sovereignty, violent confrontation against Israelis and threatening the residence of southern Israel," he said. Lerner stressed that Israeli forces would "continue to act, preempt and defeat those that plot to harm the civilians of Israel."

The exchange followed new violence in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian boys, aged 13 and 15, at a rally east of Khan Younis on Saturday.

Eleven Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Friday.

As tensions have spiraled in recent weeks, several rockets have been fired from the blockaded coastal territory into southern Israel, with Israel's army launching retaliatory air strikes in nearly every case.

Although much of the rocket fire has been claimed by small militant groups operating in Gaza, the Israeli army has consistently held the territory's de facto leaders Hamas responsible.

Hamas has not claimed responsibility for any rocket attacks since last year's devastating war, and the movement has been attempting to clamp down on many of the smaller armed groups.

Earlier Saturday, however, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri warned Israel that following a string of "war crimes" the Palestinian "people will defend themselves by any means possible."

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