Israel launches strikes Gaza after rockets fired 1

Israel launches strikes Gaza after rockets fired

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JERUSALEM: Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip early Sunday in retaliation for projectiles fired from the Palestinian enclave into southern Israel, the army said.

Shortly after midnight, military planes and helicopters attacked targets related to Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip, without casualties.

Israel has also suspended cement shipments to the enclave and canceled 500 commercial access permits in Israel until further notice.

Major General Kamil Abu Rokun, the head of the Israeli military unit, said the action was “due to the constant firing of rockets and firing balloons to Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

The launch of rockets, bombs and explosive balloons from the Gaza Strip to southern Israel almost every day since US President Donald Trump announced plans to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday has caused Israel to retaliate.

Palestinians are resolute against the American plan, which has a strong preference for Israel.

Trump’s initiative shows that Israel will retain control of the controversial city of Jerusalem as its “undivided capital” and give the green light to the Jewish state to annex settlements in the West Bank that occupied Israel in 1967.

According to local media reports, a rocket launched by a Gaza rocket Saturday night forced Benny Gantz, a prominent candidate in the upcoming elections, to flee to southern Israel to seek refuge.

Former military general Gantz leads the Blue and White Party and is the main rival to Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of the March 2 elections.

Israeli forces say the night attack on the Gaza Strip is aimed at Hamas infrastructure, which the enclave has been managing since 2007.

It said in a statement: “Hunters and attack helicopters have hit many Hamas terrorist targets in the northern Gaza Strip.”

It added that one of the goals was “underground infrastructure … to use as a situation space”.

According to Hamas security sources, the strike did not result in casualties.

Hamas and Israel have waged three wars since 2008, but in the past year the group has gradually set up an informal file with Israel, with the Jewish state easing its brutal blockade of Gaza.

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