Gaza rocket hits southern Israel

Raids test fragile Gaza ceasefires as US envoy begins tour of the Middle East.

    The Gaza tunnels are used to smuggle food, fuel
    and consumer goods from Egypt [EPA]

    'Intense fear'

    The rocket fire came after Israeli jets carried out raids on tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border earlier on Wednesday.

    IN DEPTH

    Analysis and features from Gaza after the war

    Send us your views and eyewitness videos

    "Israeli Air Force aircraft hit a number of Hamas smuggling tunnels" in retaliation for the roadside bomb attack by Palestinians on the vehicle patrol the previous day, the Israeli army said in a statement on Wednesday.

    An Israeli officer was killed and  three other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

    Three air raids took place before dawn, but no casualties were reported, local residents and Hamas security officials said.

    Todd Baer, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Rafah, said: "People say this latest round of Israeli strikes started at around two o'clock this morning.

    "They heard three strikes in a row. It hit this area hard. Fear is as high as it can be here."

    Tunnels 'a lifeline'

    The tunnels are used by Gazans to smuggle food, fuel and consumer goods from Egypt and are considered a lifeline for thousands of ordinary Gazans. Israel says Hamas uses them to re-arm.

    Shortly after the bomb attack on Tuesday, Israel aircraft  killed one Palestinian on a motorcycle in an air attack.

    Hamas confirmed that one of its members was injured in the attack in the town of Khan Younis.

    The exchanges were the first major military developments since Hamas and Israel declared separate ceasefires earlier this month after Israel's offensive against the Gaza Strip.

    Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, later said the killing was only an initial reaction and that Israel's full response was still to come, Israeli media websites reported.

    No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bomb attack.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons

    Strong quotes for Martin Luther King Jr Day

    Quotes from Martin Luther King Jr that resonate today

    Quotes of justice, education, religion and race said by MLK Jr.