Israel says it targeted Hamas positions in retaliation to rocket fire, days after a ceasefire came into effect.
Israel launched a series of airstrikes on Palestinian positions in the besieged Gaza Strip, in what it said was in response to rocket fire from the enclave.
Israeli warplanes hit at least 15 targets belonging to Hamas’ armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, the Israeli military said early on Sunday, there were no reports of injuries.
The strikes targeted at least three Hamas compounds in the northern part of the strip. There was no immediate comment from Hamas on the attacks.
The strikes came days into a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. The truce went into effect on May 30, following one of the worst days of violence in Gaza since the 2014 Israeli assault on the strip.
On Wednesday, Hamas said that armed groups in the Gaza Strip had agreed to a deal with Israel following a night of air attacks targeting several Hamas and Islamic Jihad positions in the coastal enclave, so long as the “occupier” did the same – referring to Israel.
Last week, Israel hit more than 35 targets belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, after the Israeli army said Palestinian fighters were behind a “barrage of projectiles” fired from Gaza into southern Israel.
The escalation came after Islamic Jihad vowed to take revenge after a deadly attack against its members last month.
120 Palestinians killed in Gaza
Sunday’s strikes came a day after Razan al-Najjar, was killed by Israeli live fire during a protest, which was the 10th Friday demonstration held by Palestinians since March 30 near the fence with Israel dubbed the Great March of Return.
The 21-year-old volunteer paramedic died of a gunshot wound in Khan Younis, a city in the south, the Palestinian health ministry said. According to witnesses, al-Najjar was shot in her white uniform while running towards the fortified fence to help a casualty.
Since March 30, 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the popular protests began calling for the Palestinians’ right of return to the homes from which they were expelled from in 1948. More than 13,000 others have been wounded.
In a statement, the Israeli army blamed Hamas, the group governing Gaza, of “activities” that took place in the strip over the weekend, referencing the demonstration that had taken place near the fence with Israel.
Last week, residents in Gaza attempted to break a 12-year crippling siege that has trapped more than two million Palestinians since 2006. Some 17 people had sailed off the coast of Gaza with the intention of reaching Cyprus, before Israel forces intercepted the boat and transferred it to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
With severe restrictions on access to basic services, Gaza – home to more than two million people – has been dubbed the world’s largest open-air prison.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS