One killed after Israeli air strikes hit the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire

August 17th, 2011 - 1:16 am ICT by BNO News  

GAZA (BNO NEWS) — The Israeli army launched a series of air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing one Hamas gunman and injuring two others, according to Hamas medical sources. Several civilians were also reported injured.

Hamas confirmed that the first air strike hit a group of three gunmen who had been firing rockets into Israel, adding that one of the gunmen later died of his injuries. An Israeli military statement also confirmed that its aircraft hit four targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the firing of a rocket at the Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. No injuries were reported from the rocket attack, which landed near the city.

Three civilians, including a boy, were also injured during the air strikes, according to the Palestine News Network. The boy was reportedly injured when the Israeli air force bombed a tunnel which links Gaza to Egypt and is allegedly used to smuggle weapons into Gaza. Palestinians, however, claim these tunnels are vital to provide medical and other supplies to 1.5 million besieged Gazans.

“The IDF will not allow southern Israeli communities to live under constant threat of rocket fire, and will continue to respond with determination in any attempt to use terror against the citizens of Israel,” a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) warned. “The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

Earlier this year, in March, Israel deployed its first Iron Dome missile defense system in light of the recent rocket attacks in southern Israel. The Iron Dome system uses sophisticated radar, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, to track incoming missiles, intercept and destroy them before they reach their targets. It also includes Tamir missile interceptors.

In the winter of 2008-2009, Israel launched a surprise airstrike against the Gaza Strip which marked the beginning of a three-week military conflict between Israel and Hamas, killing nearly 1,500 people and leaving thousands more injured and displaced. Israel stated its aim was to stop rocket fire from and arms import into Gaza.

In 2010, the Israeli Security Agency reported a total of 150 rocket launches from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. It represented a significant drop from 569 launches in 2009, although 407 of them were launched during Operation Cast Lead.

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