Israeli jets strike Gaza, 5 wounded
Israeli jet fighters struck several targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday, wounding at least five Palestinians, security sources, medics and witnesses said, DPA reported
The witnesses said the F16 jets carried out airstrikes on three separate targets near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. One of the targets was a house east of the town of Deir el-Ballah.
Medical sources at al-Aqsa Hospital said that at least five Palestinian civilians were wounded.
Security sources in Gaza said the Israeli airstrikes were a response to earlier rocket and mortar attacks carried out by Gaza militants against southern Israel. No injuries were reported.
A Gaza-based militant group, loyal to the Islamic Hamas movement, claimed responsibility on Friday of firing a Grad rocket from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel.
The armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees said in a communiqué sent to reporters that its militants fired the Grad rocket "in response to the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people in Gaza."
An Israeli army spokesman told Israel Radio that a Grad rocket had landed in an empty area near the southern Israeli town of Afokim, damaging a parked car.
The spokesman noted it was the first firing of a long-range Grad rocket from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel since the end of the three-week Israeli offensive Cast Lead in January, 2009.
The army spokesman also said that within the last couple of days, Gaza militants fired five mortar shells at southern Israel, causing no injuries.
Hamas is still holding to an undeclared truce with Israel since the end of the war.
However, minor militant groups continue to launch rockets at southern Israel. In response, Israel carries out limited retaliatory attacks on militants' targets and smuggling tunnels in the enclave.
The escalation of rockets attacks on Israel came after Israeli warplanes struck a car on Wednesday, killing two brothers, members of the al-Qaeda affiliated radical group "Jaish el-Islam," or the Army of Islam.