Israeli air raids hit 'Hamas sites' after rocket attack

Israeli air raids hit 'Hamas sites' after rocket attack
Israeli jets have bombed southern Gaza in response to rocket fire towards Israel, the Israeli military has said.
2 min read
26 May, 2016
Israel holds Hamas accountable for all attacks coming out of Gaza [Getty]

The Israeli military has executed a series of air raids on two alleged Hamas sites in southern Gaza, in response to a rocket attack into Israel.

The Israeli air force carried out the attacks early on Thursday against what Tel Aviv described as a training facility used by the al-Qassam brigades - Hamas' military wing - and the Nuseirat refugee camp near Rafah. No casualties have yet been reported.

The air raids were in retaliation, officials said, for a rocket shot into southern Israel late on Wednesday, targeting the Nahal Oz military base close to the Gaza Strip.

The rocket landed in an open area of land, and no-one was harmed.

Ajnad Beit al-Maqdis, a small Salafi militant group, has claimed responsibility for the rocket in a statement released on Twitter.

Rocket fire toward Israel has been sporadic since the end of the 2014 Gaza war, in which 2,251 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed. This latest exchange of fire follows four days of cross-border violence earlier this month.

While smaller, more radical Islamist groups who oppose Hamas have often been blamed for the attacks, the Israeli army has a policy of holding Hamas "accountable for all attacks coming out of the Gaza Strip", it said in a statement.

It added that nine rockets had struck Israel so far in 2016, a steep reduction from previous periods.

The attacks came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sealed a deal to bring hardline nationalist Avigdor Lieberman into his coalition as defence minister.

Lieberman has over the years threatened action on Gaza and its Hamas rulers.

He recently said that if he became defence minister, he would give Hamas' Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh 48 hours to return detained Israelis and soldiers' bodies "or you're dead".