Israel strikes militants' targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire amid tension
GAZA, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Israel struck on Friday militants' facilities in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from the strip, amid tension between the two sides after Israel imposed a naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
Eyewitnesses and security sources said Israeli war jets fired several air-to-ground missiles at training facilities that belong to militant groups, including the armed wing of the Hamas movement.
Medical crews and civil defence forces rushed to the scene, witnesses said, adding that fire was seen in the targeted posts. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, an Israeli army spokesman said in a statement that Israeli Air Force war planes struck targets that belong to Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
The statement said the airstrike on militants' training posts in Gaza was a response to rockets fired Thursday night from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, which caused severe damage to a house.
No group has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.
It is the second rocket attack launched from Gaza on Israel in less than one day. The previous one was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system, and Israel retaliated by striking a Hamas tunnel in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials and opposition leaders have called for launching a large-scale military offensive against the Gaza Strip and targeting top leaders including Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yehya Sinwar.
Hazem Qassem, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in an e-mailed statement that the Israeli threat against the Gaza Strip and Hamas leaders "is only to gain more electoral votes."
"These threats won't scare or terrify our people and their armed resistance," said Qassem. "The armed resistance will again defeat the occupation's aggression and defend its people."
The rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel came shortly after Israel announced Wednesday that it had imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and banned Gaza fishermen from fishing.
Palestinians will gather on Friday for the weekly anti-Israel protests, also known as the "Great March of Return" that has been held on Fridays since March 30 last year.