Israel strikes Hamas facility in Gaza: army

Li Jiayao

JERUSALEM, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Israel's air force struck a Hamas military facility in the Gaza Strip early on Tuesday morning, citing a rocket fired at Israel hours before as the reason for the attack, the army said.

"An AIF (Israel Air Force) aircraft targeted a military compound belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip," a military spokesperson said in a statement.

The strike took place on the night between Monday and Tuesday.

The army said the reason for the attack was a rocket fired by Gaza militants on Monday night, which hit an open field near a community in the Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel. No injuries or damage were reported.

No organization immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket, but these rockets are usually launched by Islamist groups in Gaza that challenge Hamas, the organization that runs the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The military spokesperson said that the strike targeted a Hamas compound because "the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) holds Hamas solely accountable for events in the Gaza Strip."

A military official told Channel 2 TV news that the rocket fell very close to a populated area but did not trigger warning sirens. The army is checking whether it was caused by a malfunction in the warning system, the official said.

Hostilities between Israel and Gaza have been on the rise since U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a statement on December 6. In October, Israel blew up a tunnel crossing from Gaza into southern Israel, killing at least 12 Islamic Jihad militants and triggering vows to avenge.

At least 12 Gazans were killed in protests and clashes with Israeli military forces since Trump's announcement, and dozens more were injured.


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