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Israeli forces launch airstrikes across southern Gaza Strip

June 14, 2014 11:55 A.M. (Updated: June 15, 2014 1:07 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes launched two airstrikes against targets in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday just hours after a rocket struck Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The first Israeli strike was reported in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, targeting a military base for the military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades. No casualties were reported in that strike.

Sources told Ma'an that Israeli helicopters fired two missiles at the base. One missile, they said, landed inside the base and the other hit near the main gate, causing minor material damage.

The second airstrike hit the Saudi neighborhood in northern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Locals told Ma'an that a helicopter fired a missile at an open area near a military base for An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. No injuries were reported in that strike either.

"Israeli planes targeted a terrorist base and a weapons storage facility located in Gaza," a statement released by the Israeli army said, adding that the move was in "response to the rocket fire" earlier in the day.

"Direct hits were confirmed," the statement said.

Just hours before the strike, Gaza militants launched a rocket into Israel, hitting the Sdot Negev region according to the Israeli army.

That rocket comes only days after Israel bombed the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing one Palestinian.

The bombing targeted a member of the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, and also injured another man traveling on a motorcycle with him as well as a young boy passing by.

Israeli authorities have said that they hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for any rocket fire from Gaza, suggesting that responses against the fire could hit not only formerly-Hamas ruled Gaza but also the West Bank.

The airstrikes come amid increased tension between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following an April 24 unity deal that brought together Hamas and Fatah into a government of national unity.

The move, which ended seven years of political division, angered Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization for its refusal to renounce violence in its fight against the Israeli occupation.
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