(Gaza) Israeli warplanes bombed several military sites in the Gaza Strip at dawn on Sunday, hours after Palestinian militants fired a missile at southern Israel amid escalating tensions in the occupied West Bank, according to what Israel announced.
The Israeli military said the air strikes targeted a weapons manufacturing plant and an underground tunnel belonging to Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007. The military said more shells were fired over the border while warplanes bombed sites in Gaza.
No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire on Saturday evening, which landed in an open area near the wall separating Gaza and Israel. The border has been quiet for three days in August between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed group from Gaza that is smaller than Hamas.
Hamas and other factions have largely committed themselves to informal deals that have kept the impoverished area quiet in exchange for thousands of Israeli work permits. Israel and Egypt blockade Gaza to prevent Hamas from stockpiling weapons.
The IDF said that “tonight’s strike continues progress in de-escalating” Hamas.
Critics of the blockade say it is a form of collective punishment harming Gaza’s 2.3 million people.
While Gaza remained quiet, tensions have been mounting for months in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in parts of the Strip.
Israel carried out near-daily raids that it said targeted Palestinians involved in planning or participating in Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the spring that killed 19 people.
The military says the raids aim to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks, but the Palestinians say they entrench the indefinite Israeli occupation, which has now reached 56 years.e general. The latest wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets has killed nine more people.
More than 140 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting this year. The Israeli military says most of the Palestinian dead were militants. However, stone-throwing youths protested the incursions by the Israeli army, and others who were not involved in the clashes were killed.