x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Israeli jets target Islamic Jihad after rocket attack

Israeli air force fighters hit Islamic Jihad targets in central and southern Gaza early yesterday after Palestinian rocket fire struck Israel.

GAZA CITY // Israeli air force fighters hit Islamic Jihad targets in central and southern Gaza early yesterday after Palestinian rocket fire struck Israel.

The raids came just hours after militants fired five rockets at southern Israel, two of which were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, the military said.

The air force raids "targeted terrorist infrastructure including two weapons storage facilities in the central Gaza Strip and a rocket launch site in the southern Gaza Strip," a statement said.

Palestinian witnesses said the air raids hit uninhabited sites belonging to the radical Islamic Jihad movement, which is feuding with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, blamed the rocket attack on Islamic Jihad.

She said the group had "fired five rockets into Israel" and said the overnight raids by the Israeli air force had struck sites that "belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad".

"When Hamas wants, they know how to keep order in the Strip," a military statement said. "We believe this was an isolated incident, but will continue to follow."

No group has claimed responsibility for the rocket fire but military officials quoted on radio also put the blame on Islamic Jihad.

The sudden rocket fire came just hours after Islamic Jihad had publicly severed all contacts with Hamas following the death of one of its military commanders, who was shot by Hamas policemen, a Jihad official said.

Islamic Jihad is the second largest armed group in Gaza after Hamas and claims to have 8,000 fighters in its military wing.

As the ruling authority, Hamas is responsible for ensuring that militant groups respect the terms of an Egyptian-brokered truce