Israeli army confirms air strikes on Gaza
Israeli aircrafts struck six targets in Palestinian Gaza strip early Friday, in response to a deadly Palestinian rocket attack against the Jewish state one day ago, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed, Xinhua reported.
Among the targets are a weapons-manufacturing site in the north of the strip and five tunnels in Southern Gaza, two of which are suspected of being used for the purpose of military attacks against Israel, IDF said in a statement released hours after the strikes.
The army vows to continue acting against the attacks on Israel, saying it "holds Hamas as solely responsible for maintaining peace and quiet in the Gaza Strip."
Earlier, Palestinian witness said that Israeli air strikes hit several targets in Gaza, including a metal workshop which IDF believed was used to produce rockets that Gaza factions fire on Israel. At least two Palestinians were injured in the strikes, according to local witnesses and medics.
The air strike came a day after a Qassam rocket launched from Gaza landed a Kibbutz in Ashkelon and exploded in a greenhouse. A Thai national worker died after being hit and seriously injured. The militant group, Jund Anssar Al-Sunna brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom on Thursday vowed to respond with "strong" means after the first deadly strike from the coastal strip against the Jewish State since the end of the massive Israeli offensive in January 2009.
While the Islamic Hamas movement, which controls Gaza and has maintained a shaky, unofficial ceasefire with Israel for more than a year, blamed Israel for the escalation of recent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel's settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the reopening of a Jewish synagogue near Al-Aqsa Mosque in the city raged Gaza factions that called for a response.
Small militant groups in Gaza fired makeshift Qassam rockets at Israeli targets from time to time, causing property loss and occasional casualties. Israel has been responding to such attacks with air raids targeting militants, suspected weapons factories and smuggling tunnels in the area.
The clashes culminated when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the coastal enclave in December 2008. The three-week offensive, allegedly aimed at halting rocket fires from Gaza, left more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers dead.