Israeli planes strike Gaza for first time since Pillar of Defense

Bombing run comes hours after three missiles shot out of Strip at Israel

Two Israeli F-15I 'Ra'am' fighter jets during maneuvers (CC BY-TSgt Kevin J. Gruenwald/USA/Wikimedia)
Two Israeli F-15I 'Ra'am' fighter jets during maneuvers (CC BY-TSgt Kevin J. Gruenwald/USA/Wikimedia)

Israeli planes carried out bombing sorties over the Gaza Strip late Tuesday night, responding to rocket attacks out of the Palestinian enclave earlier in the day.

The air force bombing was the first Israeli attack on Gaza since an informal cease-fire was signed between Jerusalem and the Strip’s Hamas rulers in November following an eight-day mini-war to stem rocket fire dubbed Pillar of Defense.

A Hamas spokesperson said the planes struck an area in northern Gaza near Jabal al Rayes, with no injuries. Other reports from inside the Strip indicated an open field east of Gaza City was also struck.

The Israel Defense Forces said it struck at least one terror target in Gaza.

The sorties are likely meant seen as a warning to the Strip not to escalate the violence.

Earlier in the day, three missiles were fired at Israel from the central Strip. Two landed inside Gaza and a third struck an open area in the Eshkol region, the IDF said.

There were no injuries in the attacks.

The Mujahadeen Shura Council took responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to the death of a Palestinian inmate in an Israeli jail Tuesday morning. The death of Maysara Abuhamdia of cancer sparked violence among Palestinian security prisoners and violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Rocket fire from Gaza has largely tailed off since the end of Pillar of Defense, but there have been sporadic attacks.

Two weeks ago, four rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, likely timed to coincide with the visit of US President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, parents and teachers found one of the rockets in the yard of a Sderot kindergarten, which had been on Passover break during the attack.

A rocket fired on Ashdod in February was also linked to the death of a Palestinian in Israeli custody.

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