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Israeli aircraft strikes Gaza, no casualties

Raids response to Palestinian rocket attacks: Israel

Israeli aircraft struck a disused airport in southern Gaza and a Hamas training base in the center of the coastal strip on Thursday but no one was hurt, Palestinian security officials said.

The air raids targeted the already damaged Yasser Arafat airport in the south of the strip, the Abu Jerad residential area, and an open ground in the north.

After the attack, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said its aircraft managed to hit a weapons factory in the north, a tunnel in the south that was being built under the border fence to allow Hamas fighters to launch attacks into Israel, and a site reportedly used for "terrorist activity."

An IDF statement said the tunnel was only one kilometer from the border fence and was being dug to allow “terrorists” to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks against civilians and the military.

The air raids, the statement added, were in response to a Qassam rocket that was fired Wednesday morning from Gaza at Sdot Negev Regional Council. The missile inflicted damage on a packing factory in one of the council’s communities and no casualties were reported.

According to the IDF, Palestinians have been continuously firing rockets into Israel since the beginning of 2010. The number of rockets and mortar rounds, it said, has so far reached 90, making the total number of missiles fired into Israel since the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead 330.

No group in Gaza claimed responsibility for the last rocket attack into Israel, but the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, issued a statement saying that they fired a missile at an Israeli bulldozer destroying agricultural lands. The IDF said it is not aware of the incident.

According to eyewitnesses, the strike involved at least two F16 warplanes and several homes were damaged.

The IDF launched Friday a strike on Gaza in response to a mortar shell that was fired at the western Negev in the first attack on the strip after the Israeli forces raided the Freedom Flotilla that was carrying aid to the besieged Gazans.