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Israel strikes Gaza after rocket attack

Jan. 3, 2014 9:58 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 4, 2014 7:36 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli war planes launched strikes against the Gaza Strip early Friday, the army said, shortly after a rocket from the besieged coastal enclave hit an Israeli area.

A statement from the army said that "in response to rocket fire toward Israel," its "aircraft targeted a terror infrastructure site in the central Gaza Strip and three concealed rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip."

"Direct hits were confirmed," the statement read.

Palestinian sources within Gaza said that the strikes targeted agricultural land near al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, the town of Beit Hanoun in the north, and another neighborhood in eastern Gaza City.

There were no injuries reported.

Late Thursday night a projectile fired from the Strip hit southern Israel, causing no harm or damage, an Israeli police spokeswoman told AFP.

Earlier Thursday, a Palestinian man was shot and injured by Israeli forces near the border in the northern Gaza Strip. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the man was "damaging" the border fence, and that Israeli soldiers resorted to shooting him in the leg. The Israeli news site Ynet reported he was "throwing stones" at the separation barrier.

The shooting and the airstrikes come approximately a week after an upheaval in violence in Gaza left two dead and several injured.

On Dec. 24, Israeli airstrikes killed a 3-year-old Palestinian girl and injured several others after a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli Civil Defense employee working at the border.

Two days later, two more Palestinians were injured in Israeli airstrikes, after two rockets fired from Gaza hit open Israeli areas, causing no injuries or damage.

On Saturday, Israeli tank fire injured two more Palestinians in central Gaza in an attack that was unconfirmed by the Israeli army but nonetheless made international headlines.

An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2012 between Palestinian factions and Israel to end over a week of fighting which left over 170 Palestinians dead and more than a thousand injured. Six Israelis were also killed during the fighting.

Since the agreement, Israeli forces have shot dozens of Gazans in border areas, and have launched frequent incursions.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.

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