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Israeli air strikes target Hamas positions in retaliation for gunfire

Bullet casings found in the Israeli city of Sderot after militants in the Gaza Strip opened fire at an Israeli drone on May 16 2018.
Yosef Mashriki
Homes in the Israeli city of Sderot were hit by stray gunfire from Gaza

Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza for the second time on Wednesday after being fired upon by militants inside the enclave, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

The latest flare-up, which comes on the heels of the death of 60 Palestinians in the enclave on Monday during clashes with Israeli forces, began when the IDF came under fire from militants in the enclave.

The army said it retaliated by hitting a Hamas position in the northern part of the enclave with tank fire.

Shortly afterwards the army said militants opened fire at an Israeli drone, but several homes in the southern city of Sderot were hit with bullets.

Several hours later, the Israel Air Force retaliated by targeting two Hamas positions in Gaza; according to Palestinian reports, at least two people were wounded in the strikes.

The IDF described that incident in a statement as "serious" and said that the gunfire emanating from the strip came from "heavy machine gun fire." Responsibility for the attack was attributed to the "Hamas terror organization," the statement added.

Jack Guez (AFP)

Some two hours later the army said they had hit two Hamas targets in the enclave's south with tank fire after again copping gunfire from inside Gaza.

Both the IDF and Palestinian media said there were no reports of casualties on either side.

Images shared by the local municipality revealed damage to the exterior walls of a number of homes and in one case, the windows had been shattered. No injuries were reported.

"Suddenly I heard a loud 'boom' and saw shrapnel in the garden," Eli Moyal, an ex-mayor of the town was quoted as telling Walla. "I was never afraid, I experienced Qassams [Hamas rockets], but there was a big noise and it frightened the neighbors."

It was not clear to which group those who fired on the Israeli forces came from, although Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the impoverished enclave.

The new clash comes after weeks of demonstrations and violent riots by Palestinians along the Gaza-Israel border, in which dozens of Palestinians died from Israeli fire.

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