GAZA, (Reuters) – An Israeli air strike killed a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, a day after the end of a six-month-old ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas rulers of the enclave, the army and Palestinians said.
An Israeli military official said the air strike targeted a group of militants firing rockets towards Israel.
Palestinian medics said a militant was killed and another was wounded when a missile exploded in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. The attack came hours after two rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel, causing no damage or injuries, the army said.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, said the militants belonged to its ranks. It identified the man killed in the air strike as Ali Hijazi, 25.
Shortly after the air strike, Hamas said its militants had fired six mortar shells at an Israeli army post near the southern Gaza Strip. The army confirmed the attack, which it said caused no damage or injuries.
Hamas declared the end of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with the Jewish state in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, raising the prospect of an escalation in cross-border fighting.
Armed Islamist factions in Gaza went on alert on Friday and warned Israel not to attack the coastal enclave.
Under the truce, brokered by Egypt in June, Palestinian militants would halt rocket fire in return for Israel gradually easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow in more aid. But the ceasefire has been eroded almost daily since early November after a deadly Israeli army raid into Gaza prompted showers of largely ineffective rockets into Israel.
Egypt said on Friday it had not been asked to repair the truce.