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Israel strikes Gaza targets following rocket fire from besieged strip

Fighter jet attacks cause serious damage to tourist facilities and houses in the Palestinian enclave
Fires are seen following an Israeli air strike in Gaza city on 16 July 2022 (AFP)
Fires are seen following an Israeli airstrike on Gaza city on 16 July 2022 (AFP)

Israeli warplanes targeted two locations in the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning after two rockets were fired towards Israel from the besieged enclave. 

According to the Palestinian Wafa news agency, 10 missiles hit a location near a tourist resort in Sheikh Ijjileen, southwest of Gaza City, and two more missiles were fired west of Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

The strikes caused serious damage to facilities and houses, but there were no reports of casualties. 

Balls of fire lit up the night sky over Gaza City after the strikes, which at one location left a hole beneath dislodged paving stones in front of a low-rise building.

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Translation: Moment showing the [Israeli] occupation's raids on the central Gaza site this morning.

The Israeli army said the targets were facilities, including an underground rocket-manufacturing plant, belonging to Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza. 

The attack was in response to rockets fired towards the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon just after midnight on Friday, it said. 

During the night there were two separate launches, each of two rockets, triggering sirens in southern Israel.

One rocket was intercepted, and three projectiles landed in open spaces without leaving any casualties. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from armed groups in Gaza.

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Hazem Qassem, a spokesperson for Hamas, said: "The enemy's bombing of the Gaza Strip and intimidation of civilians comes within the framework of its crimes and non-stop terrorist behaviour against our people wherever it exists.

"The occupation, with all the tools of terrorism and American support, will not be able to break the will of our steadfast people and their valiant resistance," he added. 

Israel and armed groups in Gaza have periodically contained exchanges of fire similar to Saturday's, most recently in June. 

However, hostilities between the two sides have largely been low since the war in May last year when at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children and 40 women, were killed in Gaza during 11 days of Israeli bombardment.

Rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave killed 13 people in Israel, including two children and six women.

The Gaza Strip is home to more than two million people living in a total area of 365 sq km, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

In June, it passed 15 years under an Israeli-led air, land and sea blockade that has turned it into an "open-air prison" that amounts to unlawful collective punishment under international law.

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