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Israeli airstrikes launched across Gaza after rocket fire

Jan. 2, 2016 10:41 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 3, 2016 10:56 A.M.)
Smoke billows from a building hit by an Israeli air strike in the town of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 13, 2014. (AFP/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Israeli air force early Saturday morning launched airstrikes across the Gaza Strip targeting Hamas facilities after rockets were fired from the besieged enclave, officials said.

Official sources in Gaza told Ma’an that Israeli warplanes targeted training grounds used by the military wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades.

One airstrike hit the al-Yarmouk training site in western Gaza City and another landed in the Falastin training site east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

Another strike targeted an open area near what was once the Gaza International Airport east of Rafah city in southern Gaza, and a fourth hit an open area in the central Gaza Strip, officials and locals told Ma’an.

No human casualties have been reported though the strikes reportedly left noticeable material damages.

The Israeli army said in a statement that multiple rockets had been launched from the Gaza Strip at Southern Israel on Friday night. Sirens reportedly sounded throughout communities in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council as two rockets hit an open area.

“In response to the attack, Israeli air force aircraft targeted two Hamas military training facilities and two military sites in the Gaza Strip,” the army said.

Sporadic rocket fire has come from the Gaza Strip over the past year and has been met with retaliatory Israeli attacks, with the military making at least 56 incursions into the enclave in 2015, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Friday night’s rocket fire -- as well as rocket fire over the past year -- has not been claimed by the al-Qassam Brigades, however Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from the Gaza Strip and typically targets Hamas infrastructure after such attacks.

Israeli airstrikes carried out in October that the army said targeted Hamas weapons manufacturing facilities killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her two-year-old daughter when their home was hit.
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