Israel launches 1st airstrikes on Gaza since truce

IAF strikes follow rocket and mortar fired from Gaza toward southern Israel; no injuries or damages caused.

April 3, 2013 00:47
1 minute read.
Smoke from explosion in Gaza Strip [file]

Smoke from explosion in Gaza Strip [file]. (photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)

The IAF launched airstrikes on the Palestinian Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the first such attack since a truce ended an eight-day cross-border war in November.

"Occupation planes bombarded an open area in northern Gaza, there were no wounded," a statement from the Hamas Interior Ministry said. The IDF confirmed that it had launched airstrikes on a two terror targets in northern Gaza and recorded direct hits.

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The airstrike followed the firing of a Palestinian projectile from Gaza  which exploded in southern Israel’s Eshkol region on Tuesday. The explosion occurred in an open area, and did not cause any injuries.

The IDF said it did not immediately know if the projectile was a mortar shell or a rocket.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Palestinian mortar fired at Israel failed to cross the border, and fell inside the Gaza Strip.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the projectiles.

The projectile attack came hours after the remains of a rocket likely fired into southern Israel during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel last month were found in a kindergarten in Sderot, according to police.

The rocket’s remains were not located previously because the kindergarten had been closed for the Passover holiday, police added.

Police sappers were on the scene to safely dispose of the rocket.

Israel and Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-mediated truce in November, after eight days of fighting, in which 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.

Israel launched the 2012 offensive with the declared aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire into its territory.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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