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Israel strikes Gaza as tensions soar following deadly West Bank raid

Fighter jets target besieged enclave hours after Israel said it intercepted rocket fire
Smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City as Israel launched air strikes on the Palestinian enclave early on 23 February 2023 (AFP)
Smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City as Israel launched air strikes on the Palestinian enclave early on 23 February 2023 (AFP)

Israeli fighter jets struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning after rockets were fired from the besieged Palestinian enclave following a deadly raid in Nablus which killed 11 people. 

There were no reports of casualties on either side.

Columns of smoke were seen rising from the targeted sites, while several houses were also damaged by the shelling.

One of the missiles hit a location at the entrance of al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, Wafa news agency reported.

The Israeli army tweeted that it targeted a weapons manufacturing site and military compound belonging to Hamas in central and northern Gaza. 

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Hours earlier, rockets were launched from the enclave towards Israel, triggering warning sirens across several cities and towns near Gaza including Ashkelon and Sderot.

Six rockets were fired, of which five were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system and one fell in an uninhabited area, the Israeli army said.

The Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire after it called on "resistance forces" to respond to the raid on Nablus - the deadliest Israeli raid in nearly 20 years. 

Nablus raid

Israeli forces killed 11 Palestinians, including a child and three elderly people, and wounded 100 others on Wednesday during a military raid in the occupied West Bank city.

More than 60 Israeli military vehicles stormed Nablus after an undercover force was spotted in the historic Old City, eyewitnesses told Middle East Eye.

"It was very scary... We could hear the sounds of explosions and people screaming in the street, and many of us started crying and praying to God to protect the city and its residents," Nablus resident Nabeela Suliman told MEE.

Israeli forces kill 11 Palestinians in 'merciless' Nablus raid
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The raid, which lasted for four hours, focused on a building in the city that reportedly housed Palestinian resistance fighters.

​The Lions' Den armed group said in a statement via its Telegram page that its fighters engaged Israeli forces in armed clashes alongside other armed groups in the city, including the "Balata Brigade" and the "Nablus Brigade". 

Six of those killed were fighters, according to the Lions’ Den. 

Palestinian groups across Gaza, the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem launched a general strike on Thursday following the deadly raid. 

Elsewhere on Thursday, a Palestinian wounded during an Israeli army raid on the West Bank city of Jenin two weeks ago died of his wounds. Mohammad Nabil Sabah, 30, was in a critical condition after having been shot in the belly. 

At least 61 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis this year, at a rate of more than one fatality per day.

It follows an increase in violence recorded in 2022, with at least 167 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the highest death toll in those territories in a single year since the Second Intifada.

Meanwhile, Palestinians killed 30 Israelis last year and 10 this year. 

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