1 dead as Israel hits Gaza after rockets fired across border

Published November 2, 2019, 11:14 AM

by CJ Juntereal

By the Associated Press

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed a Palestinian man Saturday as aircraft pounded militant sites in response to barrages of rockets launched toward Israel from the seaside enclave.

The exchange of fire shattered a monthlong lull across the volatile frontier.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said Ahmed al-Shehri, 27, died from shrapnel injuries during the Israeli bombings that continued through the early hours of Saturday.

He was among three men who sustained moderate or serious wounds from one of the airstrikes. Witnesses at Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis said the three were sitting in an orchard adjacent to one of the militant posts that was hit.

In a statement, the Israeli military said its warplanes targeted military compounds affiliated with Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The targets included weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, a naval base and a compound serving Hamas’ aerial defense array.

The army “views the rocket attack targeting Israeli territory with great severity and is prepared to continue operating as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians,” the military said.

Late on Friday, two barrages of 10 rockets were launched into southern Israel within minutes, causing damage to a house.

There were no reports of casualties. Israeli police said shrapnel damaged a house in the southern town of Sderot and video footage showed a car near the structure with windows blown out by debris.

The Israeli military said seven rockets were fired in the first incident and the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted them. Minutes later, three rockets were launched and only one was intercepted.

No Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Israel blames Hamas for any fire from the enclave. The militant group says it’s committed to an unofficial truce deal, but rogue groups that include Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad and smaller Salafist factions sometimes act independently of Hamas.

Earlier Friday, health officials said scores of Palestinians were wounded by live fire during protests along Gaza-Israel border fence.

Hamas launched the weekly demonstrations last year against 12-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

International mediators, including Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, oversee the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel to lower the intensity of the protests and pacify the border area in exchange for humanitarian projects in the seaside enclave. Hamas charges Israel of not honoring the agreement by slowing the implementation of the deal.