Palestinians remove rubble from an abandoned house that was destroyed during an Israeli air strike overnight in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, 8 Dec. 2010. (AP)
Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Thursday, hours after a mortar shell fired by Palestinian resistance movement Hamas wounded an Israeli man at an agricultural community close to the border between the two territories, the Israel Occupation army said, as Reuters reported.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the strikes were aimed at three separate targets in the Gaza Strip, two of which Hamas confirmed were sites they used for training. No casualties were reported.
The attacks were launched a day after the US announced its failure to convince Israel to halt illegal settlement construction in the occupied territories. The US statement was a big setback for Obama, who believes settling the Middle East conflict is "a vital national security interest." When launching the talks in September, Obama said he hoped to have a deal signed in a year.
Palestinians fired about five mortar rounds late on Wednesday and fragments from one of them wounded one man. He was taken by helicopter to hospital in Beersheba, but his wounds were not life-threatening, the spokeswoman said.
He was the first casualty from shells fired by Gaza resistance into Israel since March when an agricultural labourer from Thailand was killed when he was hit by a mortar shell.
Gaza resistance groups, in the coastal territory that is ruled by the Islamist Hamas faction, occasionally launch cross-border rocket and mortar strikes at Israel that rarely cause casualties.
Israel uses tank fire or air strikes against Palestinian targets and tunnels used to smuggle goods and arms from Egypt into the blockaded territory.
Israel ended 38 years of Gaza occupation in 2005 but it began blockading the strip in 2007 after Hamas came to power, adopting a harder stance towards Israel than rivals Fatah who refused to recognise Hamas' legitimacy.