|The army said in a statement that the attack was a response to five rockets that landed in Israel [Reuters]|
At least one Palestinian has been killed and another five injured by an Israeli air strike east of Gaza City, Palestinian medical officials have said.
Hamas officials confirmed that Moamen Abu Daff was killed on Friday morning when a missile hit the city’s Zeitoun
In a statement, the Israeli army said that its aircraft had attacked the besieged strip, saying that the operation was aimed at “a terrorist squad that was identified moments before firing rockets”.
Abu Daff was reportedly a member of Army of Islam, a loose network of Palestinian fighters that is said to include Salafi members from neighbouring Egypt.
Such groups often launch rockets at Israel in defiance of truce efforts by Hamas, which controls the strip.
Palestinian fighters had fired two rockets at southern Israel on Thursday, after Israeli warplanes attacked the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said.
Both fell in open ground without causing injuries or damage.
Israel said Thursday’s attack struck a “terror activity site in the central Gaza Strip, and a terror tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip”.
The army said in a statement that the attack was a response to five rockets that landed in Israel, none of which caused any damage or injuries.
An earlier series of Israeli strikes overnight on Tuesday had killed a Palestinian and wounded about 20 others, as the army struck what it described as targets who were planning cross-border attacks on southern Israel from the Egyptian Sinai.
On Wednesday, a senior Israeli officer said the military was preparing for a possible large-scale military campaign in Gaza if the Palestinians did not halt their rocket attacks.
“We are preparing and ready for an additional campaign … to renew the deterrence,” Tal Hermoni, commander of the Gaza division’s southern brigade, told reporters in remarks widely published in the Israeli media.
Israel’s last major operation against Gaza was Operation Cast Lead, a 22-day offensive launched on December 27, 2008 that cost the lives of 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 13 Israelis, including 10 soldiers.
The Goldstone Report, published in September 2009, concluded that both Israel and Hamas committed potential war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the offensive.
Amnesty International, the UK-based human rights group, also accused Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus munitions was indiscriminate and illegal.