In Brief

Israel strikes Gaza and Syria

Tit-for-tat violence escalating in run-up to fresh Israeli elections

Israeli aircraft have bombed the Gaza Strip and Syria, killing two people, after earlier rocket fire.

The Israeli Air Force claims it targeted “Islamic Jihad terror sites” throughout Gaza and near the Syrian capital, Damascus. The Guardian says “the latest tit-for-tat violence” comes “ahead of a fresh general election”.

Earlier, more than 20 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza, in response to the killing of a Jihadist militant along the Gaza-Israel border.

The Israeli military claims that the strike in the area of Al Adleyeh, south of Damascus, targeted a site where the militant group conducts research and development of weapons, both by adapting them to manufacturing in the Gaza Strip, as well as for manufacturing in Syria.

The Israeli paper Ha’artez says the city of Ashkelon has opened public shelters and cancelled public events at community centres. Police have also bolstered forces in southern Israel, as a response to the bombing of Gaza is expected.

“The attacks were carried out in response to the attempted terror attack this morning on the perimeter fence and the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” a statement from the military read.

“The IDF will respond to any terror acts of the Islamic Jihad that endanger Israeli civilians and harm its sovereignty. The IDF views the rocket attack towards Israeli territory with great severity, is prepared and will continue operating as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians.”

Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria, mainly targeting government forces as well as allied Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters. However, it rarely directly claims responsibility for them.

According to Ynet, Palestinians say Egypt and the UN are attempting to broker a ceasefire that will return calm to the region.

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