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Israel carries out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip | Israel

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airstrikes on the Gaza Strip

According to journalists and witnesses, Israel carried out airstrikes on the central Gaza Strip early Thursday, hours after the army said it intercepted a rocket fired from Palestinian territory.

New rockets were fired from Gaza after the strikes, and further explosions could be heard from Gaza City around 3:15 a.m. local time, Agence France-Presse journalists reported.

In a statement issued at 2:41 a.m., the Israeli army confirmed that it was a “strike in the Gaza Strip”.

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According to local security sources and witnesses, the first strikes – at least seven – hit a training center of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. The center is located in the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in the center of the Gaza Strip.

Smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City early Thursday.
Smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City early Thursday. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images
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A second round of IDF airstrikes targeted the al-Qassam Brigades training center southwest of Gaza City, according to local security sources.

After the first airstrike, an AFP reporter saw two more rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, and witnesses said several more rockets were fired from various locations.

Gaza, a densely populated 2.3 million people, has been under Israeli blockade since Hamas took power in 2007.

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a secular Palestinian armed group, claimed to have launched “a barrage of rockets…in response to the Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip”.

On the Israeli side, warning sirens sounded in Sderot, a city in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip, according to the army.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ended his Middle East tour without making progress in reducing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, saying it was “fundamentally” up to them to end violence after days of bloodshed.

Blinken said he had heard ‘deep concern about the current trajectory’ at meetings in Israel and the occupied West Bank but, beyond a call for ‘de-escalation’, he offered no new US initiatives.

An Israeli operation in the Jenin refugee camp last week, one of its deadliest raids in the West Bank in decades, killed 10 Palestinians, mostly gunmen but also two civilians, including a 61-year-old woman. years. The following day, an armed Palestinian killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem in the worst such attack in recent memory.

Nearly two dozen people have been killed over the past week as heightened tensions have led to retaliatory attacks, including shootings, targeting Israelis and Palestinians.

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