Israeli tanks fire on Gaza in response to rocket attack

A Palestinian woman cries at a site that was hit by an Israeli air strike the previous day in Gaza City on October 6, 2016. (AFP)

Israeli tanks shelled the Gaza Strip after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave hit an open field on Thursday, the second such exchange of fire in two days, officials said.

The rocket slammed into the Eshkol area of Israel bordering the Gaza Strip, which is run by Islamist movement Hamas, the Israeli military said in a statement.

The Israelis retaliated with tank fire targeting farmland east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, said a Hamas security source.

Israel usually retaliates to rocket fire from the Gaza with strikes, but recent responses have been stronger than in the past.

That has led some analysts to question whether the change is in part the result of a new policy by hardline Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who took office in May.

The minister, speaking on public television, said Israel was not seeking an escalation.

“But when it comes to the security of Israelis, there will be no concession ... Hamas has firm control over the Gaza Strip. When it wants to make or prevent other groups from firing, it knows how to do it,” said Lieberman.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:59 - GMT 10:59