Israeli jets strike Gaza after rocket and mortar fire

Photo: AFP/GETTY


Israeli jets have hit militant positions in Gaza after Palestinians fired rockets and mortars into Israeli territory, the Israeli military said.

The military said 25 targets linked to the militant Hamas movement were hit, in response to a barrage of about 45 rockets and mortar shells.

Residents reportedly said two Hamas security personnel were slightly hurt. No Israeli casualties were reported.

The strikes follow weeks of confrontation along the Gaza border.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and thousands more wounded since a protest campaign began on 30 March, Gaza’s health ministry says.

The demonstrations have seen thousands of Palestinians mass on the border in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force. Israel has said they have only opened fire in self-defence or on people trying to infiltrate its territory under the cover of the protests.

The Israeli military said that Hamas targets, including a number of bases, were struck in three rounds of strikes overnight.

Air raid sirens and phone warning systems sounded before dawn in Israel.

The military said Iron Dome missile defence system intercepted seven rockets fired by militants. Kites carrying containers of burning fuel were also sent into Israel, the military said.

Gaza, an impoverished enclave of some two million residents, has long been blockaded by Israel and Egypt.

The blockade was tightened after Hamas, an Islamist group that won Palestinian elections in 2006, ousted its secular Fatah rivals from Gaza a year later.

Source: BBC

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