IAF strikes South Gaza Targets After Two Rockets Hit Israel

February 7, 2009, The Israel Air Force struck targets in southern Gaza on Friday a few hours after Palestinian militants fired two rockets from the coastal strip into Israel.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman confirmed the air strikes. The spokesman said the targets included four smuggling tunnels, as well as a weapons storage facility, which caused a series of secondary explosions to be heard in the area.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Palestinian witnesses said no one was wounded in the IAF strikes. The first of the rockets fired by Gaza militants Friday hit the Sha'ar Hanegev region, the IDF said. The attack caused no casualties or damage.

Three hours later, a rocket hit near the coastal city of Ashkelon. No casualties were reported in that attack either.

An IDF spokesman said the first rocket was fired from the northern Gazan town of Beit Lahiya.

On Thursday evening, IDF soldiers killed a Palestinian militant who approached the Gaza-Israel border and drew a grenade.

The grenade subsequently exploded as a result of the soldiers' gunfire, killing the militant. There were no casualties among the troops, who were from the Golani infantry brigade. The incident took place near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

The troops later searched the area from which the militant had come, Army Radio said, then returned to Israeli territory.

The incident came a few hours after senior Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad headed to Cairo to meet with Egyptian mediators over negotiations for a truce with Hamas in Gaza.

The cease-fire that ended Israel's 22-day offensive against Hamas in the coastal territory two weeks ago has been ruptured by intermittent fighting.

On Wednesday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip launched a mortar shell at southern Israel, which exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council.

There were no casualties reported in the incident, which came a day after Gaza militants fired the first Grad rocket at Israel since the end of the IDF campaign in Gaza. (haaretz.com)

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