Israeli air strike hits Gaza Strip after militant rocket launch

Residents say a passerby was lightly hurt following air strike

Reuters July 16, 2015

JERUSALEM: Israeli aircraft struck militant targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip early on Thursday after a rocket from the coastal territory landed in southern Israel, the Israeli military said.

A passerby was lightly hurt in the Gaza Strip, according to residents. No damage or injuries were reported in Israel after warning sirens sounded and the rocket struck open ground near the city of Ashkelon before dawn, the army said.

Rocket launching has become an almost weekly occurrence from the coastal strip recently but no militant group took immediate responsibility for the attack.

Read: UN calls on Israel, Palestinians to prosecute Gaza war crimes

"The repeated rocket fire at Israel ... is a deliberate decision to target civilians. No person should live under the threat of terrorism," Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said in a statement.

A group that sympathizes with al Qaeda, who have defied Hamas, has been blamed for other recent strikes, none of which caused injuries or damage.

The Israel-Gaza border area had largely been quiet since last year's July-August war, when Palestinian militants launched thousands of rockets and mortar bombs into Israel and Israeli shelling and air strikes battered the enclave.

Read: A year after Gaza war: ruins, small joys and much to fear

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, while 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side.

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