Israel launches strikes against Hamas targets

Israeli aircraft struck militant targets in the Gaza Strip and Palestinians launched dozens of mortar bombs and rockets from the enclave into Israel on Saturday, the Israeli military said.

There were no reports of serious casualties on either side of the border in the exchange of fire which followed a familiar pattern of retaliatory attacks by the Israeli military and Gaza’s armed groups.

40 targets struck

Gaza militants often vacate potential target sites during flare-ups and Israelis who live in villages and towns near the border have reinforced rooms in their homes and rocket sirens that alert of an incoming attack.

The military said it struck more than 40 targets within several militant compounds belonging to Hamas in what it described as one of its widest operations since a 2014 Israel-Gaza war.

Gaza militants fired more than 50 mortar bombs and rockets toward Israel, the military said, setting off sirens and sending Israelis fleeing to their shelters.

The flare-up began on Friday when thousands of Palestinians gathered at the Israel-Gaza border area for weekly protests that have now entered their fourth month. Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager and a second protester died of his wounds on Saturday, Gaza health officials said.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the protests.


Olivia Brock 

The Kootneeti Team - Middle East Monitor

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