Palestinian rocket fireplace attracts Israeli air strikes in Gaza

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© Reuters. Smoke and flames can be seen in the Gaza Strip following an Israeli air strike

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GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian militants fired a rocket at Israel and triggered Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said on Sunday.

No casualties were reported on either side of the border. Israeli police said the Gaza rocket fired on Saturday night damaged a factory in the southern city of Ashkelon.

The Israeli military said its plane hit several military bases owned by Hamas, the Islamist armed group that controls Gaza.

According to Reuters witnesses, the strikes hit targets before dawn in Gaza City and the southern Gaza cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, where flames and clouds of smoke could rise in some places.

There was no immediate claim to responsibility of any military group in Gaza for firing the missile. Israel and Hamas last waged a war in 2014 and have exchanged fires several times since then, although the border has been largely calm in recent months.

"The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible for and assuming responsibility for all events in the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences for terrorist activities against Israeli civilians," the military said in a statement.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum blamed Israel for the new escalation.

"The Israeli occupation is the main culprit for everything that happens in Gaza as it continues to block it and carry out attacks. The resistance is only for self-defense," Barhoum told Reuters.

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