Israel attacks Hamas positions after rockets fired from Gaza

Air strikes and tank fire came after two rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli F-15 fighter jet takes off during an exercise dubbed " Juniper Falcon", held between crews from the U.S and Israeli air forces, at Ovda Military Airbase, in southern Israel May 16. Picture
Israeli army says it struck Hamas's 'underground infrastructure' and military posts with air attacks in Gaza [File: Reuters]

Israel’s military says it attacked positions in the Gaza Strip following rocket fire from the area.

Two rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip late on Saturday, the Israeli army said, although there were no immediate reports of casualties or any damage.

The Israeli army tweeted that it “struck Hamas underground infrastructure and military posts in Gaza” on Sunday morning – using fighter jets, helicopters and tanks – and it “is conducting an ongoing situational assessment & remains prepared to operate against any terror activity”.

Security sources in Gaza said there were a number of air raids overnight, including in Khan Younes, Rafah, and Beit Hanoun, without reporting any casualties.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said Israeli helicopters bombed the southern city of Rafah and tanks bombed areas in the east, as well as the western resort of Beit Lahia.

In a statement, the Israeli military said two rockets were launched into Israel with one reaching the southern Israeli city of Ashdod and the other stretching into central Israel. The projectiles landed in open areas.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas officials.

On high alert

The rocket fire from Gaza – which has not been claimed – comes days after the anniversary of the assassination of senior Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu al-Ata, who was killed in an air strike on his home in Gaza City on November 12 last year.

Islamic Jihad is one of the armed groups operating in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas.

Ahead of the anniversary, the Israeli military was reportedly on high alert and monitoring the Strip, where roughly two million Palestinians live.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller skirmishes since 2007.

Egypt and Qatar have brokered an informal ceasefire in recent years in which Hamas has reined in rocket attacks in exchange for economic aid and a loosening of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, but the arrangement has broken down on a number of occasions.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

A number of Palestinian armed groups operate in Gaza, but Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks and typically responds to rocket fire with air raids.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies