Israeli airstrikes hit Hamas, Islamic Jihad targets

Israeli airstrikes hit Hamas, Islamic Jihad targets
2 min read
02 July, 2016
A Hamas military wing was among four sites hit when Israeli airstrikes pounded the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, in response to a fire launched into Israel the night before.
Four sites were hit in the airstrikes on Saturday morning [Getty]

Israeli airstrikes pounded four sites in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, causing damage but no injuries, officials said, after Palestinian militants fired a rocket that struck a building in southern Israel.

Air raids hit two locations for Hamas' armed wing, a military training site for militant group Islamic Jihad, as well as a workshop, the security official said on condition of anonymity.

Two of the sites were in Gaza City while the other two were in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Hamas-governed enclave.

All of the sites have been previously targeted by Israel, the official said.

In a statement, Israeli military confirmed it "targeted four locations that were components of Hamas's operational infrastructure in the northern and central Gaza Strip" in response to a rocket that hit a building in Israel's Sderot city the previous day – the 13th to be fired into occupied territories since January 2016.

On Friday, the Middle East diplomatic quartet called on Palestinians to "renounce violence" while demanding Israel halts its expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank, in a report that it hopes will serve as a "wakeup call" for the two embattled parties.

Israeli settlement building and confiscation of land in the West Bank were among factors "steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution," said the group, which includes the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

"Endless occupation is a recipe for disaster" that will lead to a "perpetual lack of security and violence," quartet coordinator, Nickolay Mladenov told AFP.

Mladenov also blamed violence and incitement, settlements and the Palestinian Authority's lack of control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as severly undermining hopes of a peace deal.

At least 214 Palestinians and 34 Israelis have been killed in violence that has flared since October 2015 with Israeli forces being accused of using excessive force in some cases.

Most of the Palestinians were allegedly carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

Others were killed in clashes with security forces or by Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians say the rise in knife attacks on Israeli soldiers is rooted in frustration stemming from nearly five decades of Israeli military occupation.