Israeli forces have bombed a Hamas military base on the Gaza strip in the first operation since the end of the war in August. In a statement, they referred to the location as a “Hamas terror infrastructure site.”
Residents reported hearing two explosions early this morning in the region, an area that contains training sites for Palestinian militants
The site aimed for was a legitimate military target in the Khan Younis area in the Southern Gaza strip, Sky News reports.
Local hospital officials have confirmed there were no casualties.
The Army said the move was in response to a rocket that militants had launched earlier in the day which landed in a field, avoiding targets which had previously not been of particular concern to the militant group.
“The IDF (Israeli Defence Force) will not permit any attempt to undermine the security and jeopardise the wellbeing of the civilians of Israel. The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible and accountable for today’s attack against Israel,” military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said in a statement.
This is not the first time the group, which has recently had an appeal to the European Court decide in their favour and could be taken off the Terrorism List in three months time, have launched rockets into Israeli territory. But this is the first time the IDF have chosen to retaliate.
The conflict in the summer, which started on the 8th July and lasted until a truce was brokered on the 26th August, was in response to a concerted and prolonged rocket attack campaign by Hamas.
Controversially, the Palestinian group used targets designated as civilian areas to launch attacks on Jewish areas, trying to provoke the IDF to attack these traditionally non military targets in order to claim a contravention of the Geneva Convention.
After a sustained, if not moderately amateur, offensive on Israeli targets the IDF responded in an attempt to stop Hamas from attacking its citizens. More than 2100 Palestinians were killed in the seven weeks of fighting, accord go the Gaza health ministry.
The majority of these, they say, were civilians also that is likely to be due to the launch sites for rockets being in and around schools and homes. An Israeli attack on these sites provide ideal PR opportunities for Hamas and pro Palestinian movements to claim that the Israeli troops were responsible for the death of civilians.
Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were killed in the fighting.
In a separate incident, four Palestinian protestors were shot yesterday (Friday) by Israeli troops after the ignored warnings to keep away from the border fence separating Israel and the coastal territory.