Israel strikes Hamas targets after Gaza rocket fire

A Palestinian man sits on the ruble of his house, which was destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Khan Younis town, Gaza Strip, on Dec 13, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

GAZA CITY (AFP) - Israel carried out a series of air strikes against Islamist group Hamas in Gaza early on Thursday (Dec 14), the army said, hours after rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave.

It has also closed border crossings between the terroritory and Israel because of security concerns.

In a statement, the Israeli army said it had targeted three Hamas military facilities in different parts of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"The military facilities were used as training and weapons storage compounds," the army said. "This was in response to the projectiles fired at Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip."

A Palestinian security source said there were more than 10 strikes on the targets, which included a Hamas naval facility and a military base near the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The source said there had been significant damage to the targets, as well as lesser damage to nearby houses, where some residents suffered minor injuries.

There was no immediate confirmation of the injuries from the health ministry in Gaza.

The strikes came hours after Israel's air defence system intercepted two rockets fired from Gaza.

Such rockets are generally fired by fringe Islamist groups but Israel holds Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for any fire from the territory.

The army also announced it would close the border crossings between Gaza and Israel - Kerem Shalom for goods and Erez for people - from Thursday (Dec 14) "due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments".

A military spokesman could not say whether the closure would be for one day or more.

There has been an uptick in violence from Gaza since United States President Donald Trump announced he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week.

Four Gazans have been killed, two in clashes along the border and two Hamas militants in an Israeli air strike in retaliation for rocket fire.

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