Israeli forces attack Gaza in new round of cross-border violence

JERUSALEM -- Israeli airstrikes hit two Hamas training facilities in the Gaza Strip early Sunday after a rocket landed in Israeli territory, witnesses and security officials said. No injuries were reported.

The Israeli military said it launched the attack after a rocket landed Saturday night in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, a town in the northwestern Negev desert that is a short distance from Gaza.

Hamas, the military faction that controls Gaza, said on its website that two of its military camps “were destroyed by the Israeli warplanes.”

The attacks come after a week of intensifying cross-border violence.

On Monday, a Palestinian toddler was injured after Israel Defense Forces launched an aerial attack on central and south Gaza in retaliation for two rockets fired at Israel during the funeral of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, according to the military. The rockets did not cause any injuries.


On Thursday, four children and an elderly woman were injured in another round of Israeli raids after militants from Gaza fired five rockets toward the Israeli city of Ashkelon. The rockets were intercepted by Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, an army spokesman said.

A protest against a buffer zone recently imposed by Israel to stop militants from firing into Israel turned violent on Friday. According to organizers, dozens of protesters planted about 70 trees in the buffer zone before Israeli forces responded with live ammunition and tear gas. Two Palestinans were injured.

A cease-fire brokered between Hamas and Israel in late 2012 brought a period of relative quiet to the Gaza Strip. That was shattered last month, when Israeli military forces launched a series of attacks after suspected Palestinian sniper fire killed an Israeli civilian doing repair work on the border fence.

A 3-year-old Palestinian girl was killed and members of her family were injured in an airstrike on the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, according to local reports.

Some of the rockets fired recently from Gaza have come from groups other than Hamas. A rival resistance group called Islamic Jihad is believed to have been responsible for the rockets that were intercepted by “Iron Dome.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that Hamas would be held responsible for attacks from its territories, no matter who was behind them. “We will strike at those who attack us, and at those who support them,” Netanyahu said.

Twitter: @katelinthicum

Special correspondent Rushdi abu Alouf contributed to this report from Gaza City.