JERUSALEM – Israeli tanks and aircraft hit the Gaza Strip on Friday, December 29, after rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave targeted a southern community, the army and Palestinian sources said.
Clashes also erupted in the West Bank as Palestinians marked another “day of rage” following US President Donald Trump’s controversial December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (READ: Philippines denies plan to transfer embassy to Jerusalem)
There were no immediate reports of casualties in the exchange of fire, the first in more than 10 days.
Palestinian militants fired three rockets at southern Israel, two of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system, the army said.
Police said the third rocket hit a structure in a community near Gaza, causing damage but no casualties.
“In response to the rockets fired towards Israel, IDF (Israel Defence Forces) tanks and IAF (Israel Air Force) aircraft targeted two posts belonging to the terrorist organisation Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement.
Witnesses said Israeli tanks shelled a position controlled by Gaza’s Islamist rulers east of Gaza City. A spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry said nobody was injured by the Israeli fire.
Both Hamas and fellow militant group Islamic Jihad had labelled Friday a “day of rage,” as in previous weeks.
In the West Bank small groups of Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces, including north of Ramallah and in the Hebron area, where two were wounded by live fire, Palestinian medical and security sources said.
The Israeli army said there were “very small clashes” in a number of sites.
Militants in Gaza have fired more than a dozen rockets or mortar rounds at southern Israel in the latest wave of violence that erupted after Trump’s decision.
Before Friday, the last rockets fired from Gaza were on December 18, one of which hit a home in a border town.
Trump’s announcement was followed by protests across the West Bank and on Gaza’s border with Israel, with 12 Gazans killed in clashes with Israeli forces on the border or by Israeli strikes following rocket fire.
The rockets are often fired by fringe Islamist groups but Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from the territory. – Rappler.com
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