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Israel warplanes target Gaza after rocket, mortar attacks

June 28, 2014 2:16 A.M. (Updated: June 29, 2014 8:59 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's army launched airstrikes on southern and central Gaza early Saturday after projectiles fired from the coastal enclave landed in the Negev desert, Palestinians and security officials said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that a missile hit a military base south of Gaza City and another in the evacuated Israeli settlement Netzarim southwest of Gaza City.

Warplanes fired a missile at fields north of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip causing material damage.

Israeli helicopters also targeted a field in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

There were no immediate reports of injury.

In an emailed statement, the Israeli military said that its aircraft targeted two "terror activity sites and a weapon manufacturing facility in the central Gaza Strip and a weapon storage facility in the southern Gaza Strip."

The statement added: "Direct hits were confirmed."

Earlier, militants in Gaza fired eight projectiles into southern Israel including two mortar shells, the army said. Three rockets landed in the Eshkol regional council and another hit Hof Ashkelon regional council, it said.

The country's anti-rocket Iron Dome system intercepted two rockets, an army spokeswoman told Ma'an.

According to the military, an explosive device was also activated Friday against forces adjacent to a border fence in northern Gaza, in the eighth such attack this year. There were no reports of injury or damage.

Hours earlier, two Palestinians died and two others suffered injuries when Israel's air force bombed a car traveling near al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City.

The killing was the first targeted assassination by Israel since the formation of the Palestinian national unity government at the beginning of June.

The two were affiliated with the al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. The PRC is a Gaza-based militant group that opposes negotiations with Israel and frequently fires rockets from Gaza.

Israel's army said it targeted the "terror operatives" due to their involvement in launching rockets at Israel over the past week. Both men were planning further attacks against Israel, it added.

The strike came amid increased tensions in the region as an Israeli military campaign across the West Bank entered its second week.

The campaign, the largest deployment since the early 2000s, has left eight Palestinians dead, more than 130 wounded, and more than 560 detained.

It has included near-nightly airstrikes on Gaza as Israeli forces pound the besieged enclave in response to rocket attacks by militants angry about the West Bank offensive.
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