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Israel strikes Gaza in response to rockets firing (Ld)

Gaza, Feb 2 (IANS) Israeli fighter jets on Thursday carried out a series of airstrikes on facilities belonging to militant groups in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from the coastal enclave.

Israeli army drones and fighter jets were heard buzzing in the air, and several explosions were heard in the central Gaza Strip, witnesses told Xinhua news agency.

They added that more than 14 missiles were fired at a military post that belongs to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant groups.

Palestinian medical sources said that no injuries were reported during the strikes that mainly targeted posts and facilities.

The airstrikes were in response to the earlier firing of two rockets at southern Israel, said an Israeli army spokesman.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

During Israeli airstrikes on Thursday, militants in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave also fired at least eight rockets at southern Israeli communities close to the borders with the Gaza Strip, and anti-aircraft missiles were fired at Israeli fighter jets by Hamas militants.

The latest development comes amid a series of deadly incidents in the region.

On January 26, Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied northern West Bank and killed nine Palestinians and wounded 16 others.

A day later, a gunman opened fire on people near a synagogue at a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, killing at least seven people.

Since early January, some 35 Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing violence.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2022, and at least 29 have been killed in January this year, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to the UN, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

The tensions have been further aggravated since Israel’s most right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took office in December 2022.