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Israeli warplanes strike Hamas positions in besieged Gaza

By AFP - Oct 26,2018 - Last updated at Oct 26,2018

A Palestinian protester holds a national flag as he throws a stone towards Israeli occupation forces during a demonstration on the beach near the maritime border with Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Monday (AFP photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli warplanes hit a number of alleged Hamas locations in the besieged Gaza Strip early on Thursday after a rocket supposedly evaded the defence system.

Jets targeted a military compound in the northern Gaza, as well as a training facility and a munitions manufacturing and storage site in the south, an Israeli statement said.

 Gaza’s ruling resistance group Hamas said there were no casualties in the strikes.

An Israeli spokeswoman claimed the raids were in response to a rocket fired from Gaza which caused no casualties or damage but did — however — evade Israel’s Iron Dome defence system, triggering an inquiry.

It was the first such fire from Gaza since October 17, when an alleged rocket fire prompted some 20 retaliatory air strikes and the temporary suspension of fuel deliveries to Gaza.

Hamas and its allies disavowed the recent rocket fire blaming fringe groups bent on sabotaging UN and Egyptian efforts to broker a long-term truce in return for a relaxation of Israel’s crippling 11-year blockade of the impoverished territory.

But Israeli authorities vowed repeatedly to hold Hamas to blame for any rocket fire regardless of who launched it.

They are “responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it,” the statement said.

The latest flare-up comes after months of Palestinian protests along the Gaza border drawing a deadly response from Israeli occupation troops.

The protesters have been demanding an end to Israel’s blockade and the right of return to lands now inside Israeli controlled territories, from which their families were expelled or fled during the 1948 war that accompanied its creation.

The Israeli air force on Wednesday struck a position in Gaza used by protesters to launch incendiary balloons, an earlier official statement said.

Palestinian fire kites and balloons have destroyed large areas of Israeli farmland causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crop losses.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed in the territory by Israeli fire since the protests began on March.  A member of the Israeli  forces has been killed in the border area over the same period.

The Israelis launched three onslaughts against Palestinians in Gaza and the enclave’s ruling group, Hamas, since 2008, killing thousands, children and elderly included.

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