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Israel launches airstrikes across Gaza Strip

June 29, 2014 9:26 A.M. (Updated: June 30, 2014 4:30 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes launched a series of airstrikes early Sunday, hitting a factory and a number of military bases belonging to Palestinian militant groups across the Gaza Strip.

The air strikes came hours after a rocket struck a factory in southern Israel, causing damage but no injuries, which followed an Israeli missile strike in Gaza that killed two and wounded two more on Friday.

An Israeli airstrike hit a concrete factory in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip as well as a military site in the western outskirts of the city. The airstrikes caused material damage but no human casualties.

A military site belonging to Hamas' military wing was also hit near Gaza's sole power plant in the Nuseirat neighborhood of Gaza City.

Witnesses told Ma'an that an Israeli airstrike hit the Abu Jarad military base which is located on the southern outskirts of Gaza City and belongs to the military wing of Hamas. No injuries were reported in that strike.

Another Israeli airstrike hit an open area west of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the strikes targeted "three terror activity sites and three concealed rocket launchers in the southern Gaza Strip, a weapon manufacturing site in the northern Gaza Strip and a terror activity site and weapon manufacturing site in the central Gaza Strip," adding that "direct hits were confirmed.

The military said that the strikes came in response to yesterday's rockets as well as 25 rockets that have struck Israel in the last two weeks, causing no injuries.

The number of rockets launched from Gaza significantly increased when Israeli forces launched a massive arrest campaign across the West Bank, which has so far led to the deaths of seven Palestinians and the arrest of nearly 600.

In addition to the airstrikes, Israeli forces stationed near the border also launched a number of attacks onto the besieged coastal enclave.

Israeli military tanks fired shells at an open area near Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. Similar strikes were also reported in Beit Hanoun in the north, without any injuries reported.

Also on Saturday night, Israeli soldiers opened fire at a group of Palestinians east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, injuring two men.

Israeli forces frequently shoot at farmers and other civilians inside the Gaza Strip if they approach large swathes of land near the border that the Israeli military has deemed off-limits to Palestinians.

The "security buffer zone" extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza's total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.
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