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Middle East

Israel launches air raids on Gaza

No injuries reported after Israel said it hit northern Gaza in response to rockets fired by Palestinian fighters.

Last Modified: 02 Apr 2013 23:29
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Palestinian fighters fired rockets towards Israel as protests erupted over the death of a prisoner held by Israel [Reuters]

Israel has launched air raids on the Palestinian Gaza Strip, the first such attacks since a truce ended eight days of crossborder assaults in November.

The Israeli military said in a statement on Wednesday that its aircraft had targeted "two extensive terror sites" overnight and that "accurate hits were identified".

The interior ministry in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip said planes had bombarded an open area in northern Gaza and that there were no injuries.

Earlier, the Israeli military said Palestinians had launched three rockets towards Israel.

A coalition of Salafist groups claimed its fighters had fired two rockets at Israel on Tuesday afternoon.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council said in a statement received by the AFP news agency that its action was "part of our answer to the death of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh".

Abu Hamdiyeh, a 63-year-old prisoner from the occupied West Bank, had been suffering from throat cancer. His death on Tuesday morning sparked Palestinian anger, with officials blaming Israel for allegedly refusing to
release him early on compassionate grounds.

Israel and Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-mediated truce in November, after eight days of fighting, in which 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.

Israel launched the 2012 offensive with the declared aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire into its territory.

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