Israel launches airstrikes on besieged Gaza Strip, no injuries reported

Israel launches airstrikes on besieged Gaza Strip, no injuries reported
The Israeli airstrikes targeting Gaza come as US President Joe Biden visited both Israel and the Occupied West Bank during is first trip to the Middle East since assuming office.
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Israeli forces regularly target locations in the besieged Gaza Strip with airstrikes [Getty]

Israeli warplanes struck a weapons manufacturing facility in the besieged Gaza Strip early Saturday, causing heavy damage, Palestinian local media reported.

Israeli forces fired around at least eight rockets targeting two sites in the south-west of Gaza City including the Nuseirat refugee camp, while no injuries were reported, according to eye witnesses and the Palestinian Wafa Agency and Quds Network.

Heavy smoke was seen coming out from the area of the attack, in videos shared online.

The exchange of fire came hours after US President Joe Biden visited Israel and the occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces claimed that the fired rockets were in retaliation to rocket fire that had been fired in the city of Ashkelon, in southern Israel, which came four hours before.

They further claimed that the targeted site "consisted of an underground complex containing raw materials used for the manufacturing of rockets," describing the facility as "one of the most significant" of its kind in the territory, in a statement.

In Gaza, no party has claimed responsibility for the fired rockets, Anadolu Agency said.

Impoverished Gaza, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, has been under Israeli siege since 2007.

Biden visit

Before flying to Saudi Arabia on Friday, Biden visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank where he reiterated his administration's commitment to a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There "must be a political horizon that the Palestinian people can actually see", Biden said.

"I know that the goal of the two states seems so far away," he said in Bethlehem, alongside Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas said "recognising the state of Palestine" is the key to peace.

With Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations moribund since 2014, the US delegation has been focusing on economic measures.

Biden announced an additional $200 million for the United Nations agency serving Palestinian refugees, which saw funding cut by the previous US president Donald Trump.

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During a visit earlier Friday to a hospital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Biden pledged a $100 million aid package for medical institutions in the area.

He also announced plans to roll out infrastructure for 4G internet across the Gaza Strip and the West Bank by the end of next year, fulfilling a longstanding aspiration among Palestinians.

Biden earlier held talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, during which a focal point was Iran's nuclear programme and that country's support for Hamas and other Islamist groups.