Israeli aircraft strikes Gaza for fourth day in a row


An Israeli aircraft struck Gaza overnight for the fourth time in as many days, wounding a Palestinian who was about to fire a rocket, Palestinian security sources said on Saturday.

The Palestinian was admitted to hospital but his injuries were not life-threatening, the sources said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that an air strike had targeted a Palestinian.

The raid was followed by the firing of two rockets from Gaza into Israel, neither of which caused casualties or damage, she added.

Israel has stepped up its air strikes on coastal Gaza this week in response to a resurgence in rocket strikes at Israeli towns that have caused no injury but disrupted routine.

The Israeli military said 16 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel this month some of which damaged buildings. Israel said it responded to shooting on Thursday with aerial strikes on tunnels dug beneath Gaza’s border with Egypt.

Palestinians said Israel has fired 10 missiles at its fighters this month, but latest strike was the first to cause any injury.

Israel’s Armed forces chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz convened a meeting on Friday with regional commander for Gaza Brigadier General Tal Russo, air force chief Major General Ido Nehustan and military intelligence chief Major General Aviv Kochavi to discuss a response, Israeli media reported.

On Thursday night, Israeli jets struck three targets in Gaza, moderately wounding four Palestinians, security and medical officials said.

On Wednesday night, Israeli aircraft targeted three tunnels, two used for smuggling in southern Gaza and one “used for terrorist activity” in the north of the Palestinian territory.

On Tuesday, Israeli air raids hit what the military called two “weapons manufacturing sites” in northern Gaza. Palestinian medical sources said one woman was moderately injured.

In April, tensions rose after an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza hit an Israeli school bus, killing a teenager.

Israel responded with a series of air strikes that killed at least 19 Palestinians in the deadliest violence since Israel’s devastating 22-day assault on Gaza in 2008-2009.

The violence raised fears of another similar offensive, but on April 10 Gaza’s Hamas rulers declared a return to the truce that ended Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.

Some Israeli media analysts see the renewed cross-border friction as possibly stemming from the latest snags in Hamas’s efforts to reconcile with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, alongside failed Western attempts to renew stalled Middle East peace talks.

(Sara Ghasemilee, a senior editor at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: [email protected])