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5 Palestinians injured by Israeli shelling in Gaza after rocket falls in southern Israel

Aug. 21, 2016 3:30 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 22, 2016 2:10 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an ) -- The Israeli army fired missiles into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun on Sunday afternoon and evening, injuring at least five Palestinians, after a rocket fired from Gaza fell inside the southern Israeli city of Sderot, with no injuries or damage reported by the Israeli army.

Reports of an air raid over Beit Hanoun emerged at around 10:30 p.m, with shelling from Israeli army planes reportedly injuring two Palestinians, although there were no immediate details on the severity of their wounds. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that they could not immediately elaborate on the report.

Earlier in the day, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip Ashraf al-Qidra announced that a young Palestinian man in his twenties was injured as a result of an Israeli artillery shelling targeting a military training ground in Beit Hanoun near the Erez crossing.

Local sources later told Ma'an that two other Palestinians were also injured, though the details remained unclear.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed in a statement that both the Israeli air force and artillery tanks targeted two alleged Hamas posts in northern Gaza on Sunday afternoon.

An Israel air force plane was used to strike the first target, while an Israel army tank was used to attack the second, according to the Israeli army.

Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that a rocket fired by an Israeli drone hit a water reservoir and another shell landed in an open area in Beit Hanoun.

The missiles were fired minutes after it was confirmed by the Israeli army that a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip and hit the city of Sderot.

The Hamas-affiliated news site the Palestinian Information Center later reported that a "Palestinian citizen was injured in the face" by shrapnel of an artillery shell.

The report quoted local sources as saying that Israeli tanks fired three shells at an agricultural land in the al-Masriyyin neighborhood in Beit Hanoun. Furthermore, the report said Israeli artillery shells landed in the Filistin training ground which Hamas fighters use for military training.

No group had yet claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.

Rocket sirens were sounded in Sderot and nearby communities bordering the Gaza Strip at 2:25 p.m. Israeli police later arrived to the scene where the rocket landed and closed off the area, an Israeli police spokesperson said in a statement.

According to the Israeli army, 14 rockets have been fired into Israel in 2016.

Most recently, on July 1, Israeli forces launched airstrikes at several sites allegedly used by Palestinian political factions in the besieged coastal enclave in response to a rocket fire that landed in Sderot.

In May, a Palestinian woman was killed during several consecutive days of sustained airstrikes and tank shelling from Israeli forces, allegedly
in response to cross-border mortar shelling and a rocket being fired from the Gaza Strip.

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