Israel and Hamas have been in an uneasy truce for several months Jerusalem – Israel struck Hamas targets in the Gaza...

Israel and Hamas have been in an uneasy truce for several months [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

JerusalemIsrael struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday after three rockets were fired from the besieged Palestinian enclave, the Israeli army said in a statement.

Two of the rockets fired last night were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile air defence system, while the third landed in an open area, the statement said.


No casualties were reported and there was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Israeli media said a mother and newborn child in Serdot were slightly injured after the mother fell when running to a shelter following the sounding of sirens.

Hamas spokesperson Abdellatif al-Qanoun told Al Jazeera that Israeli airstrikes targeted the Gaza Strip, but challenged that Hamas had launched an attack on Israel ahead of that.

“Israel alleges that we launched rockets, but we cannot take their narrative,” said Qanoun, neither denying nor confirming Israel’s claim.

“Israel’s air strikes early this morning are part of the occupation’s ongoing attacks and enmity towards our people in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

Peace plan

Israel said a mortar was fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Thursday. Israeli media reported an explosion near Kissufim in southern Israel and security forces scouring the area. No casualties were reported in that alleged attack.

The exchanges follow the announcement of United States President Donald Trump’s Middle East Plan, which promised a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and gave Israel an “undivided capital” in Jerusalem.

Tuesday’s announcement angered Palestinian leaders and people, who vowed to “fight against the deal”.


Israel has since deployed additional troops near the Gaza separation barrier, which saw hundreds of people protesting against the plan on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Israeli military was also deployed to the Occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley, which under the plan would be annexed to Israel.

Trump’s plan seeks to disarm Hamas, the group which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 and is designated a “terrorist” organisation by the US.

Qanou told Al Jazeera that the group rejected the plan.

“Hamas will not accept to be disarmed. It is not acceptable to talk about the disarmament of Hamas or any other Palestinian resistance faction.

“The Palestinian resistance’s arm is legitimate and our right to defend ourselves against this brutal occupation is legally guaranteed.”

Informal truce

Over the past year, Hamas has shaped an informal truce with Israel, under which Tel Aviv has slightly eased its crippling blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm.

But after Israel assassinated a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad armed group in Gaza in November, Israel launched attacks on Gaza, killing at least 36 Palestinians.

Political analyst Ellie Nissan said that an exchange of rockets will continue over the next few months, but the situation was unlikely to escalate.

“Nothing will change on the ground until after the elections because Netanyahu has achieved what he wants in terms of garnering support ahead of the vote,” said Nissan referring to upcoming parliamentary elections on March 2, the third in less than a year.

“If an Israeli is killed in these attacks however, Israel will have to respond,” he added.

But tensions between Israel and Gaza have been steadily rising over the past two weeks after several months of relative calm.

Additional reporting by Maram Humaid

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