Israeli planes have attacked multiple sites in Gaza, striking targets at a “military site” west of the city and a site in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the centre of the Strip.
The raids took place early on Wednesday morning, following Israeli police attacks on worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque overnight.
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The Israeli attack on Gaza was preceded by four missiles fired earlier on Wednesday from Gaza in response to the police raid on Al-Aqsa.
Witnesses said Israeli tanks also fired at Hamas positions along the Gaza Strip’s southern border, according to Reuters news agency.
No casualties from the attacks were reported immediately.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Al Jazeera that the latest Israeli bombardment is “a failed attempt to prevent Gaza from continuing its support [for] our people in Jerusalem and the West Bank”.
He hailed the “valiant resistance” of Palestinians, including those in the Gaza Strip, adding that they will continue to exercise “our right to support the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
Tensions in Al-Aqsa during the month of Ramadan have in the past resulted in deadly conflicts between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, most recently in 2021.
During the overnight raid of the mosque, 12 Palestinians were injured by rubber-tipped bullets and beatings by Israeli police, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. It also said Israeli forces were preventing medics from reaching the mosque’s compound.
Videos taken by Palestinians during the raid depicted police beating worshippers with clubs and rifles, The Associated Press news agency reported. In one video, a woman can be heard shouting, “Oh God, oh God.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, Ziyad al-Nakhala, said in a press statement that Palestinian people should prepare themselves for this inevitable confrontation in the coming days.
Israel’s police force is currently led by the far-right ultranationalist hardliner Itamar Ben-Gvir, a provocateur who has been openly anti-Palestinian in rhetoric and action.
“Strong Egyptian and international mediations are taking place to de-escalate the situation,” Al Jazeera’s Youmna ElSayed said from Gaza.