Israel and Hamas traded rocket fire for hours after militants in the Gaza Strip launched their biggest attack on Israel in years, firing at least 25 mortars at communities across the south of the country.
Israel’s air force responded with at least seven bombings of facilities belonging to both Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad, which also operates from the Strip.
No casualties have been reported by either side, but Tuesday’s violence marks the single biggest attack from the Palestinians side since the 2014 Hamas-Israel war, and comes after months of rising tensions in the border area.
Most of the Gaza missiles were intercepted by Israel’s rocket defence systems. One shell landed near a nursery school shortly before it was due to open for the day, local media reported.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised in a statement on Twitter that Israel would respond with “great force” to the initial attack.
Neither Hamas or Islamic Jihad has made a claim of responsibility for the initial fire, although Islamic Jihad had vowed to take revenge after three of its members were killed by Israeli tank shelling last week.
Hamas said that Israeli fire had hit its military facilities in the central Gaza Strip.
At least one more salvo of rockets from the Strip again hit Israel in the afternoon.
There have been several protests in the last two months at the security fence that forms a decade-long blockade on the two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
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