During the night from Friday to Saturday, alarm sirens sounded in the city of Ashkelon and in other localities in southern Israel, bordering the Gaza Strip, to warn of rocket fire.
“One of the rockets was intercepted by the missile shield,” the Israeli army said in its statement, adding that three others fell in open fields.
In retaliation, the army carried out a series of airstrikes early Saturday on Hamas positions in the Palestinian enclave, under Israeli blockade for 15 years.
“Fighter planes targeted a Hamas weapons manufacturing site” in the central Gaza Strip, the statement continued. According to the army, it is “one of the most important rocket manufacturing sites in the Gaza Strip”.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem denounced the strikes without reporting casualties.
According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, “missiles were fired near a tourist resort in Sheikh Ijjileen, southwest of Gaza City”.
“Thick smoke was seen emanating from the area of the attack,” the agency said, adding that further shelling near Nusseirat in the central Gaza Strip damaged houses.
The last rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli strikes on the Palestinian enclave date back to last June.
These shootings come the day after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, where he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem as part of his Middle East tour which also took him to Israel.
Joe Biden announced $100 million in aid for the hospital network in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian sector of the Holy City occupied by Israel, and a project to deploy 4G in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
If Mr. Biden pleaded for an “independent Palestinian state” with “territorial continuity”, he however affirmed that the conditions were not currently met to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, at a standstill since 2014.
For Hamas spokesman, “there is nothing new in US President Joe Biden’s speech on the Palestinian question, except the consolidation of his bias for the vision of the Israeli occupation” .