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Israel hits targets in Gaza as Palestinians fire rockets across border

2023-05-10T11:01:25Z

Israel’s air force hit Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza for a second day running on Wednesday and Palestinian militants in the enclave began launching rockets across the border, setting off sirens and sending residents to shelters in surrounding towns.

The military said it had hit rocket launch sites belonging to the group, as a series of blasts rocked different points including what witnesses described as a training camp in the northern part of the Gaza Strip and an open area in the south.

At least one man was killed and one wounded, medical officials said. Their identities were not immediately clear.

Minutes after the Israeli strikes, sirens were sounded in the southern city of Sderot and the area surrounding the Gaza Strip as well as in the city of Ashkelon, 14 km (8.5 miles) away, warning of incoming rockets.

In Gaza, multiple contrails could be seen ascending as rockets were launched. Mid-air explosions signalled interceptions by Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defence system.

There was no immediate word of casualties in Israel.

On Tuesday, Israel launched a series of strikes it said were aimed at senior leaders of Islamic Jihad responsible for planning attacks against Israel. At least 10 civilians were killed in the strikes as well as three senior commanders.

“We have no intention of waiting until they launch (rockets),” Israeli security cabinet minister Avi Dichter told Kan radio after Wednesday’s renewed Gaza strikes.

“If launches can be prevented or disrupted, if launch crews can be hit – all of this ultimately creates deterrence.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s rockets. Islamic Jihad had promised to retaliate for the strikes.

“The resistance decides the timing of the response in line with its tactics and calculations because we see that the response must match the size of the crime,” group spokesperson Dawoud Shehab said.

As many as 30% of residents of Israeli border communities evacuated as a precaution, municipal head Gadi Yarkoni told Kan radio.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians who opened fire on them in Qabatiya, in the occupied West Bank. Islamic Jihad claimed the two as members.

The army said the two Palestinians fired on troops from a car and were shot dead. An assault rifle was recovered from the vehicle, it said, adding that there were no Israeli casualties.

In Gaza, businesses and schools remained closed, Israel kept its two commercial and people crossings with Gaza closed. The move would stop the entry of goods, fuel and humanitarian aid as well as patients, who receive treatment in hospitals in the West Bank and Israel.

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Smoke rises following an Israeli strike, in Gaza May 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot

People stand near the site where two Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunmen were killed in an Israeli raid in Qabatiya, near Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank May 10, 2023. REUTERS/ Raneen Sawafta

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike, in Gaza?May 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

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SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Mourners carry the body of one of the two Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunmen who were killed in an Israeli raid, during their funeral, in Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank May 10, 2023. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta