Israel strikes Hamas bases in Gaza after rocket: Palestinian officials

AFP , Tuesday 27 Jun 2017

Israeli airstrikes hit a series of targets in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip overnight Monday, Palestinian officials said, hours after a rocket from the Palestinian besieged strip landed in Israel.

Strikes were recorded in at least three locations in Gaza, Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses said, with Hamas bases struck near the southern city of Rafah and Gaza City, as well as open land southeast of Gaza City.

The Palestinian health ministry said there were no immediate reports of injuries, but an AFP photographer in Gaza saw at least one man bleeding being taken for treatment from a house near the base.

The Israeli army said the strikes were in "response to projectile fire that hit near the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council."

That rocket, fired a few hours earlier, landed in an open area close to Israeli border communities without causing any injuries.

The rocket was claimed by a previously unheard of Salafist group.

Israel has waged three wars against Hamas since 2008.

Since the last Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014, which left hundreds dead and injured, a fragile ceasefire has been observed.

Gaza, which is home to 1.8 million Palestinians, has been under Israeli siege sine 2006.

Missiles and rockets are periodically fired at Israel, generally by hardline Islamist groups opposed to Hamas.

But Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket fire from Gaza regardless of who carried it out.

Meanwhile, Hamas officials condemned the Israeli airstrikes, calling them a dangerous escalation.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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