Israeli forces in the early morning on Saturday launched airstrikes at several sites allegedly used by Palestinian political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip in response to a rocket fired from the small territory into an Israeli city Friday evening, Israeli and local sources said.
Israeli Army spokesman Peter Lerner said the strikes were a reaction to an attack on the southern city of Sderot late Friday.
Palestinian Local sources said Israeli warplanes launched rockets at two sites reportedly used by al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in the southern part of Gaza City, and targeted missiles at five other locations allegedly used by al-Qassam Brigades and al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.
“In response to the rocket attack that hit Sderot last night IAF [Israeli Air Force] targeted four sites in Gaza, components of Hamas’ operational infrastructure,” he said on Twitter.
The strikes also hit waste ground near a base of Hamas’ Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades and farmland near a site of Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds Brigades, the same sources said.
Missiles struck a site in Beit Lahiya, a blacksmith workshop in the neighborhood of Zaytun, a site near the al-Irsal tower east of Jabaliya, empty land near an al-Quds Brigades’ site northwest of Beit Lahiya, and a shed near an agricultural college east of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, according to locals.
No injuries were reported, despite heavy property damage, medical source said on condition of anonymity.
Israel holds the Hamas movement responsible for all rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, although other Palestinian resistance groups are active in the small Palestinian enclave.
The Israeli airstrikes come some two months after an upturn in violence in the besieged enclave, as Israeli forces sustained airstrikes in Gaza for several consecutive days in May allegedly in response to cross-border mortar shelling and a rocket being fired from the Gaza Strip during Israeli operations inside the borders of the small territory to uncover Hamas-built tunnels.
The majority of the more than 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to a near-decade long military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.
The crippling blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah in control of the occupied West Bank.