Israel targeted Hamas in air strikes on Gaza early yesterday after rockets were fired at it from the Palestinian enclave, the army said, two days after a fragile ceasefire began.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that has de facto control over the Gaza Strip, had been spared the brunt of Israeli bombardment during this week’s flare-up which focused on its hardline ally Islamic Jihad.
A ceasefire has been in place since Thursday morning following the wave of tit-of-tat air strikes and rocket fire between Israel and Islamic Jihad -- the territory’s second most powerful militant group.
The army said it launched strikes after “two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory” and were intercepted by air defences.
It was not immediately known who fired the rockets.
Palestinian security sources said the Israeli strikes were aimed at two Hamas sites in the north of the territory.
There were no reports of casualties.
It was the first time Hamas had been hit since this week’s escalation began with Israel’s targeted killing of a top Islamic Jihad commander early on Tuesday.
That strike triggered almost immediate retaliatory rocket fire from Islamic Jihad, which set off air-raid sirens and sent Israelis rushing to bomb shelters in the country’s southern and central regions.
The Israeli military said around 450 rockets were fired at its territory during the fighting and air defences intercepted dozens of them. The military responded with air strikes it said targeted Islamic Jihad militant sites and rocket- and missile-launching squads.
After two days of fighting which killed 34 Palestinians and no Israelis, a ceasefire was agreed.