Israel strikes Gaza


ISRAEL STRIKES GAZA aircraft began pounding militant sites in the Gaza Strip early Saturday, hours after Palestinian militants fired 10 rockets toward southern Israel, shattering a monthlong lull along the volatile border.

In an initial statement, the Israeli military said its warplanes “have started striking terror targets in Gaza,” as bombings were heard across the coastal enclave.

Palestinian media reported that several airstrikes targeted training sites and outposts affiliated with Hamas, the Islamic militant group controlling Gaza, and other groups.

Gaza health officials said three Palestinian men sustained moderate or serious shrapnel wounds from one of the airstrikes. Witnesses at Nasser hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis said the three were sitting in an orchard adjacent to one of the militant posts that was hit.

Late on Friday, two barrages of 10 rockets were launched into southern Israel within minutes, causing damage to a house.

There were no reports of casualties. Israeli police said shrapnel damaged a house in the southern town of Sderot and video footage showed a car near the structure with windows blown out by debris.

The Israeli military said seven rockets were fired in the first incident and the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted them. Minutes later, three rockets were launched and only one was intercepted.

No Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Israel blames Gaza’s Hamas rulers for any fire from the enclave. The Islamic militant group says it’s committed to an unofficial truce deal, but rogue groups that include Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad and smaller Salafist factions sometimes act independently of Hamas.

Earlier Friday, Gaza’s health officials said scores of Palestinians were wounded by live fire during protests along Gaza-Israel border fence.

Hamas launched the weekly demonstrations last year against 12-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

International mediators, including Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, oversee the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel to lower the intensity of the protests and pacify the border area in exchange for humanitarian projects in the seaside enclave. Hamas charges Israel of not honoring the agreement by slowing the implementation of the deal.



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