Israeli military strikes Gaza Strip overnight

The attacks were launched in response to a rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel

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Two Palestinians were hurt, one critically, in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City on Sunday, which the military said had targeted a senior Islamic Jihad militant.

The army said the militant launched five rockets toward Israel late last week.

“The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) successfully targeted a terrorist operative involved in recent attacks against Israel and was planning further attacks in the coming days,” it said in a statement.

The army accuses Ahmad Saad of Islamic Jihad of planning rocket launches against the Jewish state.

“Saad is personally responsible for the launching of five rockets towards Ashkelon on January 16, 2014 which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system,” said the army.

“The IDF operated in order to eliminate an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli civilians.”

An Islamic Jihad official in Gaza confirmed Saad was targeted Sunday. He spoke anonymously because he was unauthorized to speak to media, according to the Associated Press.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said two civilians were wounded in the attack.

The morning strike followed another two overnight which came after a rocket hit southern Israel on Saturday, causing no damage or casualties.

On January 8, an Islamic Jihad militant was killed near Gaza City in what medics and family said was an Israeli drone strike, but the army denied any involvement.

Since the start of the year, tensions have risen in and around Gaza after a year of relative calm, with five people killed since December 20. Four of the victims were Palestinian and one was Israeli.

Since January 1, eight rockets fired from Gaza have landed in Israel with another five intercepted by Iron Dome last Thursday.

(With AFP and AP)