Israel strikes Hamas positions, weapon factory in latest Gaza escalation
The Israeli military said it hit Gaza's ruling Hamas movement in the south, including a weapon factory, noting it launched the attack after two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, one of which was intercepted.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that has de facto control over the Gaza Strip, had been spared the brunt of Israeli bombardment during a deadly flare-up earlier in the month, which saw Israel focus on its hardline ally Islamic Jihad.
A ceasefire has been in place since November 14 following the wave of tit-of-tat airstrikes and rocket fire between Israel and Islamic Jihad - the territory's second most powerful militant group.
The escalation earlier this month began with Israel's targeted killing of a top Islamic Jihad commander.
Israel's strike triggered almost immediate retaliatory rocket fire from Islamic Jihad at Israel, setting off air-raid sirens and sending Israelis rushing to bomb shelters in the country's southern and central regions.
After two days of fighting which killed 34 Palestinians and no Israelis, a ceasefire was agreed.
There have been three wars since 2008 between Israel and Palestinian militants in the blockaded territory which is home to some two million people.