First Published: 2017-12-14

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities
Three Hamas military facilities used for training, weapons storage hit by Israeli air strikes as Jewish State announces closure of Gaza border crossings.
Middle East Online

"This was in response to the projectiles fired at Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip"

GAZA CITY - Israel carried out a series of air strikes against Islamist group Hamas in Gaza early on Thursday, the army said, hours after more rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli army also announced it would close the border crossings between blockaded Gaza and Israel -- Kerem Shalom for goods and Erez for people -- from Thursday "due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments."

A military spokeswoman could not say whether the closure would be for one day or more.

In a statement, the Israeli army said it had targeted three Hamas military facilities in different parts of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"The military facilities were used as training and weapons storage compounds," the army said.

"This was in response to the projectiles fired at Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip."

A Palestinian security source said there were more than 10 strikes on the targets, which included a Hamas naval facility and a military base near the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The source said there had been significant damage to the targets, as well as lesser damage to nearby houses, where some residents suffered minor injuries.

The strikes came hours after Israel's air defence system intercepted two rockets fired from Gaza.

Such rockets are generally fired by fringe Islamist groups but Israel holds Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for any fire from the territory.

There has been an uptick in violence from Gaza since US President Donald Trump announced he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week.

There have been 12 projectiles fired at Israel from Gaza since December 6, with Israeli retaliatory strikes targeting 10 sites in the Palestinian enclave.

The recent rocket fire has not caused any casualties in Israel.

While an increase in rocket fire preceded the 2014 Gaza war, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman played down the significance of the recent launches on Thursday.

During a tour of Sderot, an Israeli town lying a short distance from northern Gaza and where rockets have often struck, he called it "a result of internal Palestinian struggles between different organisations."

One of the recent rockets hit a kindergarten in Sderot, but it struck at night and no one was hurt.

"I hope the residents of Gaza will force their leadership to invest their efforts and money in improving the strip's economy rather than digging tunnels, producing rockets and firing them at Israel," Lieberman said.

Since unrest erupted last week over Trump's declaration, four Gazans have been killed, two in clashes along the border and two Hamas militants in an Israeli air strike in retaliation for rocket fire.

One Israeli has been seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem.

 

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan

Saudi to give Yemen government $2bn bailout

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia intercepts new Yemen rebel missile attack