GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A nine-year-old Palestinian was killed and his sister seriously injured in an Israeli airstrike launched early Saturday in the northern Gaza Strip after rockets were fired from the besieged enclave.
Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra confirmed the death of Yasin Suleiman Abu Khusah, 9, and told Ma’an his six-year-old sister Israa had sustained serious head injuries during the strike.
A Ma’an reporter based in Gaza said the children were in their house at the time of the strike, located in northwestern Beit Lahiya, adding that the family was still living in their home that was partially destroyed during the most recent Israeli offensive on Gaza in 2014.
Israa was transferred to the Shifa Medical Center in Gaza City from the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahiya due to critical injuries, al-Qidra said.
The Israeli army said the Israeli air force targeted four Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip after four rockets were fired from Gaza Friday evening.
The rockets landed in open areas in southern Israel, the army said, without reporting damage or injuries.
Head Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner following the incident called the rocket attack an “example of extremist incessant efforts to threaten the security and safety of the people of southern Israel.”
Lerner, citing a total of seven rockets fired from Gaza since the start of the year, said the military would “continue to protect against those who threaten innocent lives and Israel’s sovereignty.”
Over 190 Palestinians and 30 Israelis have been killed since violence increased in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October, nearly 30 of whom were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.
A two-year-old Palestinian and her pregnant mother were killed in October when an Israeli airstrike caused their home to collapse in southern Gaza City, a five-year-old was killed by unexploded ordnance last month, and a number of others were shot dead during demonstrations near the border.
Several rockets were fired from the blockaded coastal territory into southern Israel last year, with the Israeli military launching retaliatory airstrikes in nearly every case.
Although much of last years' rocket fire was claimed by small militant groups operating in Gaza, Israel consistently holds the territory's de facto leaders Hamas responsible, and generally targets the group's military infrastructure in response.