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Israeli jets strike Gaza after rocket lands in Beersheba-army

Israeli sappers work on a house that the Israeli military said was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Beersheba, southern Israel October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israeli jets struck targets in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants enclave struck a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, the Israeli military said.

A medical official told Israel Radio that three people were taken to hospital after the rocket struck the house. Residents in the Gaza Strip said jets had targeted eight locations. The military said another rocket had been launched from Gaza, falling into the sea.

Health ministry officials in Gaza said three people were wounded in an Israeli air strike against an armed training camp in Rafah, in the south of the coastal strip. There were no reports of serious injuries in Israel.

Tensions along the Israel-Gaza border have been simmering for months amid weekly border protests and the launching by Palestinian militants of incendiary balloons and kites across the border fence.

Israeli leaders have warned that they are prepared to escalate military action on Gaza to curb attacks and protests. Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, fought a war in 2014.

Around 200 Gazans have been killed by Israeli troops since the border protests began on March 30, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures.

The Israeli military said the demonstrators last Friday hurled rocks, explosive devices, firebombs and grenades. Gaza health officials said seven Palestinians were killed when Israeli troops opened fire on a group that broke through the fence.

Israel has drawn international condemnation for its use of deadly force, but says it is protecting its borders and civilian population.

After the latest strikes, video footage from Beersheba, about 40 km (25 miles) from the Gaza Strip, showed extensive damage to a concrete and stone house in a residential street.

Still photos aired on Israeli Channel 2 showed large black plumes of smoke rising from various locations in the Gaza Strip An Egyptian security delegation was visiting the Gaza Strip to try to restore calm.

Israel’s military chief cut short a visit to the United States and was returning home, and schools were to be shut in Beersheba for the day, the reports said.

Israeli reports said Israel had closed the commercial and pedestrian crossing in and out of the Gaza Strip and had cut the fishing limit to three miles.

Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but maintains tight control of its land and sea borders, citing security concerns. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border.


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