Israel strikes Hamas targets in southern Gaza

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Jan 31, 2020

January 31, 2020

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Israel's military said it launched air strikes on underground weapons manufacturing facilities in the Gaza Strip overnight after three rockets were fired from the Palestinian territory, two of which were intercepted.

The military struck "Hamas targets in the south of the Gaza Strip", the army said on Friday.

There were no reports of casualties or major damage from the exchange of fire, which came amid heightened tensions after President Donald released a Middle East peace plan that heavily favours Israel and was rejected by the Palestinians.

Gaza has been relatively calm in recent months as Egyptian and UN mediators have worked to shore up an informal truce between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules the coastal enclave.

None of Gaza's militant groups claimed responsibility for firing the rockets but Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from the territory.

Hamas has over the past year gradually shaped an informal truce with Israel, under which Israel has eased its crippling blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm. But Israel in November assassinated a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad militant group, sparking a flare-up in which 36 Palestinians were killed. Over two days, Islamic Jihad fired about 450 rockets towards Israel without causing any deaths.

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have rejected the Trump plan, which would allow Israel to annex all of its Jewish settlements, along with the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians were offered limited self-rule in Gaza, parts of the West Bank and some sparsely populated areas of Israel in return for meeting a long list of conditions.

Israel deployed additional troops to the Gaza border area after Mr Trump unveiled the peace plan.

Hamas has vowed that “all options are open” in responding to the proposal, but is not believed to be seeking war with Israel.

Updated: January 31, 2020 12:32 PM

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