Israel’s military said on Monday that its fighter planes struck Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip after Palestinians fired rockets at the Jewish state.
Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards the coast near the southern city of Ashdod, according to an Israeli military statement.
“In response…fighter jets struck military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, including tunnel digging sites,” the army said. There were no reports of any damage from Palestinian rockets, with Israeli army sources indicating they had landed in the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinian security sources in Gaza said the Israeli fire hit “farmland” in the southern Khan Yunis area of the enclave, causing damage but no injuries.
There was no immediate claim for the rocket launches from Hamas-ruled Gaza. The attacks caused power cuts in the eastern parts and caused some damage to a children’s hospital, a center for disabled people, and shattered the windows of some residential buildings, according to the reports. However, Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said on Twitter that the raids hit a rocket manufacturing site and a military post belonging to Hamas.
Palestinians in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank are heading for respective legislative and presidential elections in May and July, the first in 15 years.
The polls are part of a warming of ties between Hamas and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s West Bank-based Fatah party.
The dates were announced on Friday in a presidential decree by Abbas.
In the last Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, Hamas won an unexpected landslide.
The polls resulted in a brief unity government but it soon collapsed. In 2007, bloody clashes erupted between the two principal Palestinian factions, with Hamas ultimately seizing control of Gaza.
Last week an Israeli tank fired at “a Hamas military post” in the southern Gaza Strip after shots were fired at a military vehicle working on its side of the border fence, the Israeli army claimed.