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Israel hits Gaza Strip after rocket attack

GAZA, Palestine (Transatlantic Today) – Following months of relative peace in the region, Israel conducted air attacks on the Gaza Strip after rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory hit the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel. 

Israeli airstrikes on agricultural land in Gaza were reported by Palestinian media on Saturday, although the Israeli military stated they targeted military infrastructure linked to Hamas, the Palestinian group that administers the region. 

In Israel and Gaza, there were no apparent reports of casualties. According to Al Jazeera, Hamas did not immediately respond, nor did any of the enclave’s other groups claim credit. 

The air strike came just one day after Israel conducted military operations on Jenin in the disputed West Bank, killing 3 Palestinians and injuring 10 more. An Israeli monitoring balloon crashed and plummeted in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday as well. 

The men killed in Jenin were identified as Baraa Lahlouh, 24, Laith Abu Suroor, 24, and Yusuf Salah, 23 by Palestinian news agency Wafa. 

One of those slain was a Hamas member, according to Hamas, but another group claiming to be affiliated with Palestinian rival Islamic Jihad hailed the dead men as there own. 

The last cross-border missiles were fired in April, when Israeli aircrafts attacked a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility in the Gaza Strip.

Although the cross-border fire on Saturday did not seem to indicate a broader escalation, bloodshed has increased in recent months in Israel, Jerusalem, and the occupied West Bank. 

More than 60 Palestinians have been slain by Israeli authorities this year, according to the Palestinian ministry of health, many of them in raids. Since March, 19 Israelis have been killed in a series of Palestinian strikes. 

Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist, was assassinated by Israeli soldiers in Jenin last month while documenting an Israeli military operation. When she was killed, she was wearing a flak vest with the word “PRESS” on it. 

Israel began an 11-day attack on the embattled Gaza Strip in May 2021. Israeli air and artillery bombardment claimed the lives of 253 Palestinians, notably 66 children, and injured over 1,900 others. During the same time period, 12 persons were killed in Israel by projectiles fired from Gaza by Hamas and other extremist groups. 

Peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem, which were mediated by the United States, collapsed in 2014 and show no signs of resuming. 

During a visit to the area in July, US President Joe Biden is slated to meet with Palestinian and Israeli officials.

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