Israel carries out air strikes on Gaza Strip

Hours after intercepting a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave, Israel is said to have carried out airstrikes on the central Gaza Strip early on Thursday, according to AFP journalists and witnesses.

Following these strikes, Gaza continued to fire rockets, and at roughly 3:15 am, further explosions were audible from Gaza City (0115 GMT).

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The Israeli army claimed it was “hitting in the Gaza Strip” in a statement released at 02:41 (0041 GMT).

Local security officials and witnesses claim that the first attacks—at least seven of them—hit an Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades training facility, the armed branch of the Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas. In the heart of the Gaza Strip, in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, is where the center is situated.

Southwest of Gaza City, the al-Qassam Brigades’ training facility was the target of a second round of Israeli airstrikes, according to local security sources.

An AFP reporter saw two further rockets launched into Israel after the initial airstrike, and witnesses reported that numerous additional rockets were launched from various sites.

Israel has been enforcing a siege on the 2.3 million-person-strong Gaza Strip since Hamas came to power there in 2007.

A secular Palestinian armed group called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed to have fired “a barrage of rockets… in response to the Zionist attack on the Gaza Strip.”

On the Israeli side, warning sirens sounded in Sderot, a town in southern Israel close to the Gaza Strip, according to the army.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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