x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Israel strikes Gaza with air raids after rockets fired

Israel carried out four air raids against the Gaza Strip early today, wounding a Palestinian child, witnesses and Palestinian medics said.

GAZA CITY // Israel carried out four air raids against the Gaza Strip early today, wounding a Palestinian child, witnesses and Palestinian medics said.

The aircraft targeted a police post in the El Tufah neighborhood east of Gaza City and carried out two raids in the north of the territory, witnesses said.

Medics said that a separate raid, which followed a rocket attack on Israeli territory, wounded a six-year-old boy while aiming for a smuggling tunnel between Gaza and Egypt near the Rafah crossing point.

The Israeli Air Force Plane was targeting "an arms factory, a site of terrorist activity and a terrorist tunnel in the north of the Gaza Strip and a smuggling tunnel in the south of the Strip," the Israeli army said in a statement. "Direct hits were confirmed."

The raids were "in reply to continued rocket attacks against the south of Israel," it added, saying that 15 rockets had been fired at Israel so far this month, hitting houses twice and "causing damage."

A rocket fired from Gaza crashed into a house in southern Israel on Sunday, causing heavy damage but not casualties, as two more landed near the city of Beersheva, an Israel police spokesman said.

There has been a steady increase in rocket fire on southern Israel over the last few weeks, with a number of the attacks claimed by radical groups.

On Saturday, the Mujahedeen Shura Council militant faction said it had fired two rockets at southern Israel.

Israel routinely responds to rocket attacks with air strikes, and last week six Palestinians were killed in two attacks within a 12-hour period.

Gaza health officials said all of them were civilians, but the Israeli military said it had targeted militants preparing attacks.

The last major flareup in and around Gaza was in June, when militants fired more than 150 rockets at southern Israel, wounding five people, and Israel hit back with air strikes that killed 15 Palestinians.