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Palestinian factions denounce Israeli airstrikes in Gaza

Aug. 22, 2016 2:08 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 23, 2016 1:15 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Palestinian political factions denounced on Monday Israeli air raids on the besieged Gaza Strip a day prior.

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, causing no injuries or material damage.

Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said in a statement that military aircraft targeted alleged Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip following the rocket in Sderot and “operated in order to bring quiet to the people of southern Israel.”

The statement claimed that 14 rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza since the beginning of the year.

Palestinian Legislative Council member Jamal al-Khudari, who heads the Popular Committee Against the Siege of Gaza, also condemned the Israeli raids, saying they constituted a serious escalation two years after the devastating Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians.

Al-Khudari said that Israeli violence in Gaza showed a “clear picture” of the broader escalation of Israeli violence across the occupied Palestinian territory.

“This reality needs a quick Palestinian decision to unify Palestinians and use Palestinian, Arab and international efforts to gain Palestinians’ rights” he added.

The Fatah movement’s military wing expressed on Monday its willingness to defend Gaza against Israeli attacks.

"We were very surprised with the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip yesterday which terrified Palestinians in Gaza, but our fighters are ready to face any folly that Israel will commit against the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip,” Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades spokesman Abu Jihad said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said in a statement on Monday that Israeli attacks were a violation of peace agreements and that their fighters had the right to defend the Palestinian people against any “Israeli crimes.”

The DFLP spokesperson called for an emergency meeting of all resistance brigades in the Gaza Strip to determine how to resist Israeli attacks and the formation of a brigades committee.

They also called upon the Palestinian people remain united in facing Israeli violations and attacks.

“We will continue resisting the Israeli occupation till we gain our freedom and independence,” the spokesperson added.

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.

Israeli authorities hold Gaza's de facto leaders Hamas responsible for all attacks against Israeli targets coming from the Gaza Strip.

However, Hamas has not claimed responsibility for any rocket attacks since Israel’s devastating war in Gaza in 2014, and the movement has attempted to clamp down on armed activity by smaller political groups in the territory.

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