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Israel strikes Gaza after rocket attacks — army

Hamas condemns Israeli strike, vows retaliation

By AFP - Jan 02,2022 - Last updated at Jan 02,2022

Smoke and fireball rises following an air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip in early time on Sunday (AFP photo)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israel targeted Hamas positions in southern Gaza late Saturday after rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave, occupation army said.

"Fighter jets, helicopters and tanks struck a rocket manufacturing site, and military posts belonging to the Hamas terror organisation," Israeli occupation army said.

Palestinian sources told AFP the army had targeted "a site of the Al-Qassam Brigades, west of Khan Younis" in southern Gaza, referring to the military wing of Hamas, the Islamist movement controlling the territory.

The sources also reported Israeli artillery fire on a Hamas observation base in northern Gaza.

Hamas condemned the Israeli strike, with a spokesman vowing “to defend our Palestinian people and liberate our land and our holy sites from the occupation and its colonial settlers until achieving the inevitable triumph”.

The Israeli strike came after two rockets were allegedly fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, falling into the Mediterranean Sea off Tel Aviv.

No warning sirens sounded and Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system did not deploy, the army said in a statement.

Sources in Hamas told AFP that “the firing of the two rockets on Saturday morning was a technical problem due to the bad weather”.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the Hamas explanation on Sunday morning.

“All of Hamas’ stories about lightning and thunder, that repeat themselves winter after winter, are no longer relevant,” he said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting.

Israel has maintained a blockade on the impoverished enclave since 2007, the year Hamas took power.

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