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Israeli airstrikes target two Hamas military sites in Gaza

May 26, 2016 9:51 A.M. (Updated: May 26, 2016 3:49 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes in the central and southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday, targeting two sites used by the Hamas movement’s military wing, after a Palestinian militant group fired rockets towards Israel.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli planes fired rockets at a site used by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in southwestern Rafah, while another strike hit a site known as Shuhada al-Qassam west of the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

Medical sources said that no injuries had been reported.

The Israeli army said in a statement that the airstrikes were launched after a rocket launched from the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday hit “an open area in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council in southern Israel.”

Israeli media reported that a total of four rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, three of which fell at the Gaza borderline. No injuries were reported.

The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group claimed responsibility for the rockets.

However, the Israeli army reiterated that it held the Hamas movement “accountable for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

The statement claimed that nine rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israeli territory since the beginning of 2016.

Earlier this month, Israel carried out a four-day airstrike and shelling campaign across the Gaza Strip which killed a Palestinian woman and injured at least five more people, after an exchange of shelling across the border.

Although the Israeli army carries out military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis, the high number of airstrikes have been a relatively unusual development since the devastating Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2014, which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel for decade. The blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah in control of the occupied West Bank.
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