IDF Launches Air Strike in Gaza After Rockets Land in South Israel

Strike destroys two Gaza city training facilities; no casualties reported.

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The Israel Defense Forces launched an air strike early Thursday against two Gaza city training facilities operated by the armed wing of the Islamist militant movement Hamas, witnesses and officials said.

No casualties were reported.

A Palestinian man walking at a destroyed beach front facility in Gaza City on February 24, 2011 following an Israeli air strike the previous night.Credit: AFP

Israeli F-16 jets flew shortly after midnight over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, firing a missile at each of the two training camps of the al-Qassam Brigade in the east and west of the city, respectively, witnesses said.

The two facilities were destroyed, Hamas reported.

An Israeli army spokesman earlier told Israel Radio that several homemade rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward the Negev area in southern Israel, with no injuries reported. Two rockets landed near Lahish, while another two exploded near the south Israel city of Ashkelon.

The IDF spokesperson said in a statement that "the IDF will not tolerate an attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will respond with determination to any attempt to use terror against the State of Israel. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."

Palestinians have expressed concern that a renewed escalation of violence could jeopardize a potential vote by the United Nations in September on their request for recognition of a Palestinian state.

The de facto Hamas government in Gaza reached an agreement several weeks ago with minor militant groups to stop launching rockets at Israel.

Some Islamist groups linked to al-Qaida have refused to be committed to the deal and claimed responsibility for the recent rocket attacks.



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