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Israeli warplanes strike the besieged Gaza Strip Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli warplanes strike the besieged Gaza Strip

Gaza is being besieged [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 January, 2021

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There were no reports of any damage from Palestinian rockets, with Israeli army sources indicating they had landed in the Mediterranean sea

Israel's military said Monday its fighter planes struck Hamas facilities in the besieged Gaza Strip after Palestinians fired rockets at the Jewish state.

Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards the coast near the southern city of Ashdod, according to a military statement.

"In response...fighter jets struck military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip, including tunnel digging sites," the army said.

There were no reports of any damage from Palestinian rockets, with Israeli army sources indicating they had landed in the Mediterranean sea.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza said the Israeli fire hit "farmland" in the southern Khan Yunis area of the enclave, causing damage but no injuries.

There was no immediate claim for the rocket launches from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Palestinians in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank are heading for respective legislative and presidential elections in May and July, the first in 15 years.

The polls are part of a warming of ties between Hamas and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's West Bank-based Fatah party.

The dates were announced on Friday in a presidential decree by Abbas.

In the last Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, Hamas won an unexpected landslide.

The polls resulted in a brief unity government but it soon collapsed. In 2007, bloody clashes erupted between the two principal Palestinian factions, with Hamas ultimately seizing control of Gaza.

Last week an Israeli tank fired at "a Hamas military post" in the southern Gaza Strip, after shots were fired at a military vehicle working on its side of the border fence, the Israeli army said.

The Palestinian forces also simulated various combat scenarios with Israeli troops, an AFP reporter said.

The events marked the anniversary of the first Hamas war with Israel, in 2008, a year after the Palestinain group took power in Gaza.

Since 2007, Israel has launched three devastating wars on the coastal Palestinian territory, where about two million Palestinians live.

It has also maintained a crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip which has plunged hundreds of thousands of people into poverty.

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