Israel air strike on Gaza hits Hamas complex: Military

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Israel hit Gaza with air strikes on Monday in response to a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave at the weekend, the army said, as unrest persisted in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said one person was killed in a pre-dawn Israeli army raid in Nablus in the northern West Bank, the scene of near-relentless violence over the past year.

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The army did not immediately comment on the Nablus raid.

But in Gaza, it said it had struck “an underground complex containing raw materials used for the manufacturing of rockets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation.”

The strikes were launched were “in response to the Saturday rocket launch from Gaza into Israel,” the army added in a statement.

Following the Israeli strikes, air raid sirens sounded in communities in near the Gaza border, the military said.

There were no reported casualties in Gaza or Israel following the latest round of missile fire.

But Israeli-Palestinian conflict is enduring a dramatic increase in violence.

Since the start of the year, the conflict has claimed the lives of 47 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians, following the latest death in Nablus.

Nine Israeli civilians, including three children, and one Ukrainian civilian have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.

In a move like to inflame tensions, Israel’s security cabinet late Saturday announced that it would legalise nine West Bank Jewish settlements in response to fatal Palestinian attacks in annexed east Jerusalem.

A security cabinet statement said many of the newly authorised communities had existed for years, and others for decades, but had not previously been recognised as legitimate by Israel’s government.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six Day War.

Some 475,000 Jewish settlers now live in the Palestinian territory, in communities considered illegal under international law.

Most of that population is in settlements that Israel has unilaterally authorised, but some live in communities that have not been given government authorisation.

The security cabinet also said it intends to announce a new round of settler housing construction in the West Bank, a step likely to draw widespread international condemnation.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned against settlement expansion in a trip to the region last month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government also announced a beefed up security presence in Israel-annexed east Jerusalem, the scene of two recent deadly attacks targeting civilians.

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