An explosion and smoke are seen after Israeli strikes in Gaza City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel retaliated on Thursday for rockets fired at it from Gaza with bombing raids against three militant training camps, and a radical Islamist group sympathetic with Islamic state claimed responsibility for the attacks on Israel.
Witnesses and medics said the predawn attacks on two camps belonging to Hamas Islamists who dominate in Gaza and the Islamic Jihad group caused some damage but no casualties.
The Israeli military confirmed the strikes saying that in response to rocket fire it "struck three terror infrastructures in the Gaza Strip," and added that "hits were confirmed."
The rockets aimed at the Israeli city of Ashkelon and town of Netivot were the second such launchings at Israel in the past week, marking an escalation since a hiatus in cross-border fire since a 50-day Israeli war with Hamas ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce in August.
A radical Islamist Salafist group posted a statement on Twitter claiming responsibility for firing the rockets. Calling itself the Omar Brigades the group said the rocket fire on Wednesday was in retaliation for Hamas's killing of an Islamic state supporter in a shootout a day earlier in Gaza.
Video showing damage by missle launched from Gaza
"We are continuing with our jihad against the Jews, the enemies of God and no one will be able to deter us," the statement said, using the term in Arabic for holy war.
In last week's rocket fire, Gaza militants had launched their deepest strike at Israel since a 50-day war of last summer, hitting near the port city of Ashdod.
Israel blamed Islamic Jihad militants for that rocket assault and launched retaliatory air strikes them as well.