Israel launches air strike on Gaza after militant rocket salvo

Israel launches air strike on Gaza after militant rocket salvo
A Palestinian inspects a crater reportedly caused by an Israeli air strike in 2014.

JERUSALEM - Israeli aircraft struck the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday in response to a rocket fired from the Hamas-controlled territory that hit southern Israel, the Israeli military said.

The militant rocket landed in open ground and caused no damage or injuries, the army said. No casualties were reported in Gaza following the air strike, which struck a Hamas training facility.

An Israeli army spokesman's statement said the air strike was aimed at "terror infrastructure in the Northern Gaza Strip. Hits were confirmed." Sporadic rocket fire from Gaza in recent weeks has broken a lull in cross-border violence since a 50-day Israeli war against Hamas ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce last August.

Air raid sirens sounded throughout Ashkelon, a city about 10 km (6 miles) north of Gaza with a population of about 120,000.

A militant group, the "Omar Brigades", sympathisers with Islamic State, claimed responsibility for firing the rocket at Ashkelon. It also claimed the previous recent firings at Israel.

The group said the rocket aimed at Ashkelon was in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, and their own members incarcerated in Hamas-controlled jails in Gaza. "The Jews will never enjoy security and safety as long as we are alive," the group said in a statement.

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