JERUSALEM: Israeli fighter jets hit 25 targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian territory, the army said.
Around 45 rockets were fired overnight from Gaza towards Israel, the army said in a statement. Seven were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.
In retaliation, Israeli planes carried out three raids against military compounds belonging to the Islamist movement Hamas, it said.
The fresh hostilities come with tensions high in Gaza after mass protests and clashes broke out along the border on March 30. At least 132 Palestinians have been killed. There have been no Israeli fatalities.
Palestinians are demanding the right to return to the homes their families fled or were expelled from during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its bitter enemy.
“The Hamas terror organisation targeted Israeli civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket attack and is dragging the Gaza Strip and its civilians down a deteriorating path,” the Israeli army said.
Israel maintains the use of live ammunition is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations. It accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover for attacks.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other international stakeholders have warned that Gaza is close to the brink of war.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense ceasefire that is regularly shaken by hostile acts.—AFP