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Israeli Army Strikes Qassam Brigades in Gaza after Two Missiles Launched on Ashkelon | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian girl stands near residential buildings that witnesses said were heavily damaged by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza Strip May 25, 2015. Reuters

Gaza– Tensions escalated again in Gaza Strip as Israeli warplanes targeted Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, after extremists launched a missile from Gaza, while Hamas warned of the consequences of the escalation.

Israeli jets struck two Qassam targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday, injuring at least three people.

A medical official at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said three people were being treated for injuries, including one in critical condition after being struck in the head with shrapnel.

The attack on Gaza was only hours after a missile was launched from the Strip towards the coastal city of Ashkelon, where the rocket landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage.

The rockets first targeted Qassam site near al-Safinah building, former Palestinian intelligence building. The jets then hit the Safinah building itself, northwest Gaza, severely injuring a member of Qassam Brigades, before they return to target Palestine site north Gaza.

While no group immediately claimed Tuesday’s rocket fire, Israeli military spokesperson issued a statement saying that Hamas is held responsible for all rockets launched from the Strip.

“The IDF considers the Hamas terrorist organization to be solely responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip,” the statement said.

Israeli military spokesperson Avichay Adraee stated that: “A short while ago, a projectile hit an open region in the Ashkelon region. No injuries have been reported.”

The spokesperson said that in response to that attack, Israeli aircraft targeted two Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip.

He added that as Hamas is sovereign over the Gaza Strip it will be held responsible for any rocket fire emanating from the enclave.

Compared to last year, and up until now, the last few months had few missiles launched. This is probably due to the recent security campaign launched by Hamas where hundreds of Salafists were arrested.

Following the recent missile launch, Hamas also apprehended several extremists as part of the campaign. Sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Hamas is after some “extremely dangerous” militants
who are believed to be behind the missile launch.

Hamas posted online images of the four leaders of the extremist movement: Mahmoud Taleb, Talaat Abu Jazar, Nour Issa, and Yousef Mokdad. Hamas described them as fugitives and requested cooperation to report them.

Meanwhile, two Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces and 25 others were arrested during clashes in the West Bank.

Fierce clashes broke out between dozens of young Palestinians and Israeli forces after the latter raided al-Dugeisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem city overnight.

Israel said an Israeli soldier was wounded with friendly fire during the raid.

Israeli security forces also arrested Abdul Jaleel al-Abed, father of the Palestinian who stabbed to death three Israelis in the Halamish settlement last month. They also arrested Badran Jaber, one of the commanders who founded Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.