Israel carried out an air strike on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to a Palestinian rocket attack on Israel on Tuesday, the first instance of cross fire since an eight-day war ended in a truce last November.
Israel Air Force (IAF) planes attacked the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya in response to mortar shells fired at the western Negev desert in southern Israel, Haaretz reported.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket on an open area near the southern Israeli town of Sderot, hours after the Israeli aerial strike, the report said.
Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, said the IAF aircraft bombed fields near the border, and no one was injured, Reuters reported. The Palestinian attack on southern Israel also did not cause any injuries.
Responding to the Palestinian militant attacks, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday that Israel would not tolerate any attacks on its territory.
“We hold Hamas responsible for everything fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel,” he said. “We will under no circumstances tolerate a routine trickling in of fire on our citizens or our forces.”
Hamas, which is viewed as a terrorist group by Israel and most Western governments including the U.S., seized control of the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip in 2007 from Western-backed Fatah, which is led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Israeli military said Palestinian militants launched three rockets at Israel, with two landing in Gaza and one hitting an open area in southern Israel.
Magles Shoura Al-Mujahedeen, an Al-Qaeda-linked group, claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, according to Reuters.
Magles Shoura Al-Mujahedeen, a hard-line Islamist Salafi faction with a small presence in Gaza and Sinai in Egypt, said in a statement that it fired the rockets in response to the death of a Palestinian inmate in an Israeli jail.
Maysara Abu Hamdeya, 64, died of cancer on Tuesday while serving a life sentence for an attempt to bomb an Israeli cafe.
Four rockets were fired into Sderot during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit two weeks ago. The crossings into Gaza were closed for a week following the incident. The crossings have since been opened, but Israel reduced Gaza's fishing zone from six nautical miles to three, according to Haaretz.
In February, a rocket was fired at Ashkelon, located 50 km south of Tel Aviv, causing no damage or casualties.
Gayathri writes about geopolitics and business for International Business Times. She began her career at the Times of India as news coordinator, before moving on to IBTimes...