Israel launches air attacks on Gaza Strip

Edited by Ed Newman
2022-01-02 10:57:41


Smoke and fireball rises following an air strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip [Said Khatib/AFP]

Gaza City, January 2 (RHC)-- Israel’s military said it launched air attacks on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip, a day after rockets fired from Gaza landed in the Mediterranean Sea.  The Israeli military claimed that the attacks late on Saturday hit a rocket manufacturing facility and a military post for Hamas.

“As fireworks lit up the skies to celebrate New Year 2022 around the world, a different type of fire came from Gaza-terrorist rocket-fire toward Israel,” the Israel military said in a tweet on Sunday.

“In response, we just struck Hamas sites in Gaza, incl. a rocket manufacturing site & military posts used for terrorist activity.”

It was not clear whether the rockets from Gaza on Saturday were meant to hit Israel, but Gaza-based groups often test-fire missiles towards the sea.

Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, told Al Jazeera that some of the areas targeted by the Israel strikes include agricultural lands.  “Our resistance will continue to perform its duty to defend our people and liberate our land and sanctities,” Qassem said. “We will stick to our right of resistance until achieving the goals of our people with liberation and return.”

There were no reports of casualties from Saturday’s attack.  No sirens were sounded and Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system did not deploy, the army said in a statement.

Apart from a single incident in September, there has been no cross-border rocket fire since a ceasefire ended an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May.  The ceasefire, brokered by Egypt and other mediators, has been fragile.  Hamas says Israel did not take serious steps to ease the blockade it imposed on Gaza with Egypt’s help when the group seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007.

More than 260 Palestinians, many of them civilians and children, and 13 Israelis were killed in the May assault on Gaza, during which Israel carried out relentless air raids across the coastal enclave, prompting Gaza fighters to fire rockets towards Israeli cities.

Israel keeps Gaza under blockade, tightly restricting movement out of the territory that is home to two million Palestinians. Egypt also maintains restrictions on the enclave. Both cite threats from Hamas for the restrictions.

The blockade restricts the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza and has ravaged the territory’s economy and harmed the population of two million.



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