The Israeli military bombed two targets inside Gaza early morning Wednesday, the first such air strikes since a cease-fire was declared last fall.
No injuries or deaths were reported but the attack speaks to rising tensions in the region following the death of a Palestinian prisoner earlier in the week that spurred protests in the West Bank and Gaza.
As The Guardian reports:
Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, 64, died on Tuesday morning, three days after being transferred to Soroka hospital in the city of Be'er Sheva. Following news of his death, Israeli prison guards used teargas in response to protests by hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, who banged on cell doors and threw objects. Three prisoners and six guards needed medical treatment, according to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS).
There were clashes in the tense West Bank city of Hebron, where Abu Hamdiyeh lived. Demonstrators threw rocks and firebombs, according to reports.
Abu Hamdiyeh, who was sentenced to life in 2002 for attempted murder, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus several months after complaining of ill health. By the time he was transferred to hospital, the cancer had spread from his throat to his spinal cord. According to his lawyer, he had lost significant weight and, until his admission to hospital, had been treated only with painkillers.
Reporting on the air assault by Israel on Wednesday, the Ma'an News Agency in Gaza adds:
The Israeli army initially said one projectile had landed in Israel, without causing any casualties, but later said none had.
A spokeswoman said military systems detected launches within Gaza but that they had fallen short and landed within the strip.
A coalition of Salafist groups later claimed that its militants fired two rockets at Israel on Tuesday afternoon.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council said in a statement received by AFP that its action was "part of our answer to the death of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh".
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP the faction was watching the developments with "the greatest concern" and that Israel would "regret its continuing crimes".