IAF Strikes Gaza Targets in Response to Rocket Fire on South

Hamas says air strike targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, a training camp in central Gaza, and a power transformer; no reported injuries as a result of strike.

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The Israel Air Force struck targets in the Gaza Strip before dawn on Thursday, a day after Palestinian militants fired about a dozen rockets and mortars across the border into southern Israel.

The Hamas rulers of the coastal territory said that the Israeli strikes targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, as well as one of its training camps inside the Strip

An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson confirmed the air strike, calling it a response to the rockets fired at southern Israel over the last few days.

One of the strikes hit a power transformer, causing blackouts in the area, Gaza witnesses said. Medical workers reported no casualties.

Palestinian police in the Gaza Strip reported that another strike hit an abandoned rocket launcher in the northern part of the territory, also causing no casualties.

The IDF had no immediate comment on those details.

Militants in Gaza also fired a mortar shell at Israel overnight. The mortar landed in an open area in the western Negev, and caused no casualties or damages.

On Wednesday morning, Gaza militants fired two Grad-type Katyusha rocket at the southern city of Be'er Sheva and a barrage of mortar shells on the western Negev.

The first rocket struck a street in the middle of a residential area in the city, damaging buildings including a synagogue. A piece of shrapnel penetrated a nearby third-floor apartment upon impact, lightly wounding one man. The second hit an open area in the city. A number of people were treated for shock in both incidents.

An Israel Air Force craft retaliated for the attack on Be'er Sheva shortly after the second attack; the Israel Defense Forces said the squad responsible for launching the rocket was hit.

Police believe that the bomb which tore through Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing one and wounding at least 30, is not connected to the increase in rocket fire on the south.

At least eight Palestinians, including four civilians, were killed over the course of Tuesday during heavy exchanges of fire between the Israel Defense Forces and militants in the Gaza Strip. The exchanges were some of the most serious rounds of fighting near the Strip since the end of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.

Palestinians survey the scene after Israeli tank fire struck a home in Gaza City March 23, 2011.Credit: Reuters

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