Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after rocket is fired from enclave

The rocket hit an open field in Israel's Eshkol region, causing no casualties or damages

Several boats were hit by Israeli air strikes but no one was injured in the attack. AP
Several boats were hit by Israeli air strikes but no one was injured in the attack. AP

Israeli aircraft struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after a rocket from the enclave, fired after the killing of a Palestinian protester, landed in Israeli territory.

The rocket hit an open field in Israel's Eshkol region, causing no casualties or damages, a local government spokeswoman said.

"Fighter jets and aircraft struck several military targets in a Hamas compound in the northern Gaza Strip in addition to two Hamas vessels," a statement from the army said.

A security source in Gaza said a Hamas site in the northern Gaza Strip was hit as well as fishing boats west of Deir Al Balah in the central part of the enclave.

The source denied the boats belonged to Hamas's armed wing. No one was injured in the strikes.

Gazans have been launching balloons carrying flaming rags at Israel and stepping up attempts to damage the border fence on a daily basis for more than 10 days, prompting Israeli retaliation.

At least 253 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March 2018, the majority shot during weekly border protests and clashes.

Others have been hit by tank fire or air strikes in response to violence from Gaza.

Demonstrators have been calling for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed to return to former homes now inside Israeli territory.

On Friday, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian and wounded 44 more at a weekly protest along the shared border between Gaza and Israel. In response to the killing, Palestinian militants fired a projectile into Israel.

Thousands participated in Friday's protests along several sections of the fence, which occurred shortly after Egyptian meditators met in Gaza City with Hamas' leadership in a bid to calm the situation. There were no details about the results of those discussions.

Last month, a UN-assigned committee found that Israeli soldiers intentionally fired on Gaza civilians during the demonstrations and they may have committed crimes against humanity.

The Israeli government lambasted the report by the Independent Commission of Inquiry, which was mandated by Human Rights Council.

Israel and Hamas, which has controlled the blockaded Gaza Strip for over a decade, have fought three wars since 2008.

Israel maintains a crippling siege of Gaza, with Egypt also restricting access at one crossing.

The UN has warned that the enclave will soon be unlivable because of the blockade.

Updated: March 11, 2019 09:54 AM

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