Hamas denies responsibility for Israel rocket fire
A Hamas spokesman said on Wednesday that Egypt has initiated contact with "all sides," following the firing of a rocket from Gaza into southern Israel and the death of one Palestinian in subsequent Israeli military strikes on a suspected Hamas militant position, after days of rising tensions.
Denouncing the rocket firing, Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum called it a "desperate and irresponsible attempt to thwart any national, regional, international or Egyptian effort that could achieve the ending of the blockage in Gaza and providing freedom and dignity to Gazans."
"We are interested in making all efforts successful, in particular the Egyptian ones, to end the suffering of the besieged Gaza Strip and stopping all forms of aggression on our people, land and sacred places," he said.
Early on Wednesday morning, a rocket fired from Gaza struck a residential home in Beersheba, southern Israel.
The medical service said two residents were injured during the panic to seek cover, while a woman and her three children whose home was struck, were being treated for shock after they fled to their shelter upon being awoken by warning sirens shortly before 4 am local (0100 GMT).
The Gaza Health Ministry said that a 25-year-old was killed inside one of the posts targeted by the subsequent Israeli airstrikes.
Three other people were wounded.
Earlier, in a rare move, seemingly aimed at easing the tensions, the "joint coordination room of resistance factions," which includes Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups, issued a statement distancing themselves from the rocket fire.
The Israeli military, however, rejected the militants' denials, saying the rocket that struck Beersheba was a mid-range, locally produced weapon that was in the possession of only two groups: Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Regardless of who fired it, a spokesman said, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the territory it controls.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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