Airstrikes target Gaza City 4Aug11 August 5, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  4 August 2011

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli aircraft fired on Gaza City early Thursday, witnesses said.

Two air raids targeted military sites including one belonging to Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, a Ma’an correspondent said.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage following the attacks.

Israel’s army said in a statement the air strikes targeted two military sites in the north and a tunnel in the south, adding that the attacks were in response to rocket fire.

“These sites were targeted in response to the rockets fired from Gaza at Israel’s southern communities over the past few days,” an army statement said.

Two Grad rockets struck Israel on Wednesday, the statement noted.

Israel will “respond with determination to any attempt to use terror against the State of Israel. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity” in Gaza, it added.

Later on Thursday, Ma’an received a claim of responsibility for firing the two Grad rockets.

A statement said the “Abdulla Azzam Brigades” fired rockets toward Asheklon and Kiryat Gat.

In the statement, a spokesman explained that the attack was “a normal reaction to the occupation’s crimes. Firing rockets will end when the occupation ends its attacks against the Gaza Strip.”

Ma’an could not independently verify the group’s claims.

The airstrikes on Thursday were the first in two days, after Israeli warplanes struck two targets Tuesday in the northern and southern parts of the enclave. No injuries were reported.

The army said those attacks were also in response to rocket fire that injured one person.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007. Rights agencies have condemned the blockade as a form of collective punishment.

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