Conflicts & War

Israel bombs Gaza after rockets launched following deadly West Bank raid

Gaza/Jerusalem, Feb 23 (EFE).- Israel bombed the Gaza Strip on Thursday after Palestinian militants fired six rockets towards its territory, the country’s military said.

It comes a day after the Israeli army carried out a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus that caused a gun battle and the death of 11 Palestinians.

“In response to the rockets fired from Gaza, IAF (Israeli Air Force) fighter jets struck both a weapons manufacturing site and military compound belonging to the Hamas Terrorist Organization, located in central and northern Gaza,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.

The compound is located next to a mosque, a medical center, a school, a hotel and a police station, it added, claiming that Hamas, the Islamist organization that has governed Gaza since 2007, is “deliberately placing its weaponry in the center of civilian areas.”

The air strikes were carried out in response to what the IDF said were six rockets fired hours earlier from the enclave, and which sounded the anti-aircraft alarms in the southern Israeli towns of Ashkelon, Sderot and the areas surrounding the Strip.

“5 rockets were intercepted by the IDF Aerial Defense Array, 1 rocket fell in an open area,” the IDF wrote on Twitter.

Just before dawn in Gaza, residents heard the whistles of the firing of a volley of rockets. So far, no Palestinian group has claimed responsibility and no casualties have been reported on either side.

They were apparently fired in retaliation for the killing of the 11 Palestinians by Israeli fire in Nablus the previous day. More than 100 people were also injured in what was one of the bloodiest days in the area in recent years.

According to Israeli forces, their operation was aimed at arresting three suspects involved in attacks against Israelis.

Troops killed the three Palestinians targets, along with others including a 16-year-old boy and a 72-year-old man.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, described the raid as organized terrorism and denounced that Israel seeks to transfer its internal political crisis to the conflict with Palestinians.

Such raids have become almost daily occurrences since late March last year when Israel launched its so-called “Break the Wave” operation in response to a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.

The Palestine-Israel conflict is experiencing a new peak of violence, which so far this year has left 11 Israelis and 60 Palestinians dead, the highest number in occupied territory since 2000, according to the PNA’s Ministry of Health. EFE


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