AFP /Gaza City
Israeli warplanes bombed the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip yesterday, as Palestinians fired rockets and launched fire bombs into southern Israel, the army said.
Parts of southern Israel were partially cordoned off by the security forces.
Israeli planes launched raids against Gaza shortly after midnight Thursday and then again later yesterday morning.
Witnesses in Gaza said rockets were launched towards the town of Sderot, just across the border.
The rocket that was not intercepted damaged the roof of a house in Sderot, but did not cause any casualties, an AFP photographer said.
Israel has bombed Gaza almost every night since August 6 in retaliation for the launch of balloons fitted with fire bombs, or, less frequently, rocket fire, across the border.
The number of rockets fired from Gaza was the largest number in a day since the latest round of exchanges began two weeks ago.
Hamas “will not hesitate to fight a battle with the enemy if the escalation continues, if the bombardments and the blockade continue,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.
“If the Israeli occupation continues its aggression it must pay the price,” he added.
Israel has also tightened its 13-year blockade of Gaza’s 2mn inhabitants.
It has banned Gaza fishermen from going to sea and closed its goods crossing with the territory, prompting the closure of Gaza’s sole power plant for want of fuel.
According to a source close to Hamas, the movement wants the extension of an industrial zone in the east of Gaza, and the construction of a new power line.
Hamas also wants the number of work permits issued to Gazans to be doubled to 10,000 once anti-coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the source said.
Sources told AFP the twin issues were at the root of the latest flare-up.
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