Israeli warplanes strike on Gaza in response to rocket attacks

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GAZA: Israeli warplanes hit targets belonging to militants in the Gaza Strip early Sunday in response to rockets firing into Israel, witnesses and paramedics said.

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The witnesses said Israeli war jets hovered over the Gaza Strip and fired several missiles at targets in the southern Gaza towns of Rafah and Khan Younis, adding that explosions were heard in both areas.

Paramedics said rescuers and ambulances rushed to the targeted areas, but no injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry in Gaza said several buildings and locations were evacuated on Saturday and Sunday for fear of Israeli airstrikes that had been lasting for three weeks in response to rocket attacks.

Israel Radio reported that three Grad rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheba. No injuries or damaged were caused.

Earlier Saturday, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, dismissed as “exaggerated and untrue” media report that Hamas and Israel were close to reaching a calm agreement through mediators.

He said, in an e-mailed statement, that there were contacts through mediators that he did not name, to know Hamas position concerning the ongoing Israeli military offensive in Gaza, east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“In principle, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian factions are interested in escalating the situation with Israel,” said Abu Zuhri, who accused Israel of trying to escalate tension in the Gaza Strip.

He also called on Israel “to immediately stop its aggression on the Palestinian people in Gaza, West bank and east Jerusalem.”

On Saturday, the Israeli media quoted an unnamed Hamas official as saying that there were contacts to reach calm in the Gaza Strip, and that he expected an agreement would be reached Sunday night. PNA

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