Israeli planes bomb 'Hamas sites' in Gaza: Army


Israel bombed two sites in Gaza causing no casualties while a rocket was fired into Israel hitting an open area

A Palestinian boy sits on a boat on the beach at the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City (AFP)
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Thursday 26 May 2016 9:24 UTC

The Israeli air force carried out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza early on Thursday, the army and Palestinian sources said.

The Israeli air force "targeted two Hamas sites in the southern Gaza Strip," the military said in a statement.

The military said their air strikes was a "response" to a rocket being fired from Gaza, which landed in an open site in Israel and caused no damage or casualties.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for Thursday's rocket fire, which came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sealed a deal to bring hardline nationalist Avigdor Lieberman into his coalition.

Outspoken Lieberman, who is set to become defence minister, has over the years threatened action on Gaza and its Hamas governors.

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

In its statement the Israeli army repeated its policy of holding "Hamas accountable for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip".

Palestinian security officials said the Israeli raids targeted Hamas military sites in Nuseirat and Rafah, causing no casualties.

The latest exchange of fire follows four days of cross-border violence earlier this month - the worst since the 2014 Gaza war that killed 2,251 Palestinians and 73 Israelis.

The United Nations envoy for the Middle East warned the Security Council on Wednesday of a "highly volatile" situation in Gaza.

"Palestinians in Gaza are growing ever more desperate, seeing their prospects for living a normal life and recovering their economy blocked by Hamas's military build-up, by Israel's security measures and closures, by the lack of Palestinian unity, and the insufficient fulfilment of aid pledges by donors," Nickolay Mladenov said.

"Recent events clearly demonstrate that the spectre of violence looms ominously over the territory," Mladenov said.

"Unless radically more is done to address the chronic realities in Gaza, it is not a question of 'if' - but rather of 'when' another escalation will take place."