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Israel fires rockets at besieged Gaza Strip

Gaza is under siege [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 January, 2020

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Israel fired at Hamas positions in the besieged Gaza Strip in an exchange of fire.

Palestine's besieged Gaza Strip has been struck by Israeli rockets in an exchange of fire with Israel.

The Israeli military said four rockets were fired Wednesday from Hamas-controlled Gaza, the first since Israel's ally the US killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

"Four rockets were just fired from Gaza at Israel. Two rockets were intercepted mid-air by the Iron Dome aerial defence system," the military tweeted.

It did not say where the other two rockets landed.

The Israeli military responded in the evening by targeting Hamas installations, it said.

Israeli fighter jets "struck a number of Hamas terror targets in the northern Gaza Strip" including a weapons manufacturing site and a military compound, the military said in a statement.

Witnesses in Gaza told AFP that a Hamas base had been hit near the sea, without causing casualties.

The fire from the Palestinian territory was the first since the January 3 assassination in a Baghdad drone strike of Soleimani, a key figure in Iran which supports Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week warned Israel would strike a "resounding blow" if attacked by Iran.

Hamas condemned the killing of Soleimani but stopped short of calling for revenge attacks.

The prime minister did not immediately respond to the latest rocket fire, which comes just weeks ahead of March 2 elections.

But his rival Benny Gantz accused the premier of failing "in his duty to provide security to the residents" of southern Israel bordering Gaza.

"We will put an end to... the rocket fire... It is time to bring about a decisive outcome," the Blue and White party leader said.

Hamas has over the past year gradually shaped an informal truce with Israel, under which the Jewish state has slightly eased its crippling blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm.

But Israel in November assassinated a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, a Hamas-allied militant group in Gaza, sparking a flare-up in which 36 Palestinians were killed. No Israelis died.

Islamic Jihad over two days fired around 450 rockets towards Israel, many of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, according to the army.

Israel struck dozens of targets in Gaza.

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