Israeli aircraft launch air strikes in Gaza

Israel Materials 18 December 2008 17:59 (UTC +04:00)

Israeli aircraft conducted two nighttime air strikes against terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip for the first time in six months, this following rocket fire on the western Negev region, Ynet reported.

The raids, conducted during the early hours of Thursday morning, targeted a weapons cache in the north Gaza town of Jabaliya and a metal workshop used to manufacture rockets and mortars in Khan Younis, located in the southern part of the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The strikes caused extensive material damage but no injuries, witnesses and medical sources said.

The Israeli military confirmed the air strikes and said they were carried out by warplanes and helicopters.

There has been upsurge in rocket attacks and Israeli reprisal air strikes ahead of the expiration Friday of a six-month ceasefire.

Thursday morning saw four Qassams fired from northern Gaza toward Israel's western Negev region. One rocket hit south of Ashkelon, two others landed within the Sdot Negev Regional Council's limits and the fourth landed in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council area. Five mortars were also launched toward the Negev overnight.

There were no reports of injuries or damage in the attacks.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's armed wing, claimed responsibility for the launching of two of the rockets that were fired toward Israel.

A Palestinian man was killed during an Israeli air raid on Gaza on Wednesday, a day in which more than 20 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. In one of the barrages a rocket hit a shopping mall, lightly injuring three people. Seven more suffered from shock.