Middle East

Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza after rocket fire

Crater resulting from a reported Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, Gaza (13 December 2017) Image copyright EPA
Image caption An Israeli air strike on Wednesday targeted a Hamas base near Khan Younis

Israel has carried out fresh air strikes in the Gaza strip on what it said were military facilities belonging to the Islamist group Hamas.

The Israeli military said its aircraft had targeted training camps and weapons storage compounds.

The strikes happened after four rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israeli territory.

Later, the Israeli military announced it had closed two border crossings with Gaza "due to the security events".

It did not say how long Kerem Shalom, which is the main entry point for goods entering Gaza, and Erez, which is used by pedestrians, would be shut.

There has been an escalation of hostilities since President Donald Trump gave US recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel a week ago.

Palestinian security sources said 13 missiles were fired by Israeli helicopters targeting Hamas military facilities in Gaza City and Khan Younis.

Health officials said there was major damage to Hamas sites and some nearby houses. There were no immediate reports of any casualties.

The Israeli military said the strikes were conducted in response to rockets fired at Israeli territory by militants in Gaza on Wednesday night.

One rocket landed in a field in southern Israel, one reportedly fell short, landing inside the Gaza strip, while two were intercepted. Medics said a man wounded his leg while running for cover, and that two other people were treated for shock.

"The state of Israel will not allow anyone to harm or attempt to harm its civilians, and will continue to guard its sovereignty," a military statement said.

Israel holds Hamas, which dominates Gaza, responsible for all rocket and mortar fire from the territory. Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

On Wednesday, the Israeli military said it had carried out air strikes on a Hamas military compound after a rocket was fired towards the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Since Mr Trump announced his decision on Jerusalem, two Palestinian protesters have been killed in Gaza in clashes with Israeli forces and two Palestinian militants have died in Israeli air strikes.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its indivisible capital. Palestinians want the east of the city, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, to be a capital of a future state.

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