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Israel continues airstrike campaign across Gaza, blames all violence on Hamas

Feb. 19, 2018 1:10 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 21, 2018 4:54 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli air forces conducted airstrikes on agricultural lands east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday at dawn.

According to locals, Israeli warplanes conducted 10 airstrikes causing significant damages to the land. No injuries were reported.

Israeli media reported that the airstrikes were in response to rocketfire from southern Gaza. Israeli news website Ynet said that a rocket fired from Gaza had exploded in southern Israel.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army released a statement confirming the strikes, saying that “Hamas is responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip, above and below ground,” the statement read.

“The army will continue to act to ensure security for the citizens of Israel using all means at its disposal.”

The past few days have seen increased tensions along the Israeli-Gaza border, with Israel conducting several airstrikes throughout the besieged territory, resulting in the death of two Palestinian teenagers.

Israel has said that the deadly airstrikes were “retaliatory,” and were in response to rocket fire coming from the enclave and the injury of four Israeli soldiers on Saturday after a device that detonated along the border.

Though no armed groups in Gaza claimed responsibility for the explosive device, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the smaller armed groups in Gaza, was responsible.

"We will hunt down those responsible for yesterday’s incident," Lieberman said on Sunday, adding that Hamas was “ultimately responsible” for what happens in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Hamas blamed the escalation of violence on Israel, with spokesman Fawzi Barhoum saying "Hamas holds the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the consequences of its continued escalation against our people.”

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