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Israel targets Hamas sites after Gaza rocket attack

By AFP - Jan 02,2018 - Last updated at Jan 02,2018

Seagulls fly off the coast of Gaza City on Monday (AFP photo)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israeli aircraft attacked Hamas bases in Gaza early Tuesday in response to a rocket allegedly fired from the Palestinian enclave targeting southern Israel hours before, officials said.

The aircraft targeted a “military compound belonging to Hamas”, a statement from the army read.

Palestinian security sources said the strikes were in Khan Younes in the south and Deir Al Balah in central Gaza, causing damage but no casualties.

On Monday night, a rocket hit a town in southern Israel, causing no damage or casualties.

Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired 18 rockets or mortar rounds at Israel in violence that erupted after US President Donald Trump’s controversial December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, six of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system.

The projectiles are often fired by fringe radical groups, but Israel holds Gaza’s militant rulers Hamas responsible for any attacks from the territory and retaliates by targeting Hamas positions.

“The IDF holds Hamas solely accountable for events in the Gaza Strip,” the army statement read, referring to the Israel Defence Forces.

Military chief of staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot said Israel was not interested in any further escalation.

“Renegade groups have an interest do disrupt the quiet and drag us into a Gaza campaign,” he said in remarks relayed by Israeli public broadcaster Kan.

“There’s no need to rush into that.”

 Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said a war in Gaza would be against Israel’s interests.

“The Israeli interest is that international attention goes to Iran, not to start a campaign in Gaza and divert the attention there,” he told military radio, referring to protests in the country that is Israel’s main enemy.

 

“We know as a fact that all the Salafis want is to drag us into a war against Hamas in Gaza.”

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