Palestinians sit next to a bomb crater made by an Israeli air strike destroying their farm in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Saturday.—AP
Palestinians sit next to a bomb crater made by an Israeli air strike destroying their farm in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Saturday.—AP

JERUSALEM: Israel carried out retaliatory strikes on Gaza on Saturday killing a Palestinian and wounding two others, following two nights of rocket attacks that were the first since September.

Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, denounced a “serious escalation” and said Israel will be held “responsible for the consequences” of the raids.

Dozens of pre-dawn strikes targeted Hamas bases and those of allied militant groups, a Gaza security source said.

The Israeli army said the strikes targeted “a wide range of Hamas terror targets”, including a naval base, a military compound and a weapons manufacturing plant.

The Hamas-run health ministry identified the person killed as Ahmed al-Shehri, 27. It did not say whether he was affiliated with any armed group.

Two other Palestinians were seriously wounded, the ministry said.

Hundreds of Palestinians attended Shehri’s funeral on Saturday in the southern Gaza Strip, a correspondent said.

The sound of explosions had been heard across the tiny but densely populated territory, correspondents said.

After daybreak, curious onlookers gathered around a large crater scooped out of the sandy soil by the force of one of the blasts.

A Hamas source said it had fired at the Israeli aircraft carrying out the raids and the Israeli military confirmed fresh “incoming fire”.

“The Zionist enemy bears full responsibility for the consequences,” of the pre-dawn air raids, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.

He said the strikes targeted “innocent civilians” and represented a “serious escalation”.

The strikes came after at least 10 rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel late Friday causing damage but no casualties.

Local officials in Gaza said installations of Islamic Jihad, another prominent militant group operating in the coastal enclave, were also hit.

The Israeli military said eight of the rockets were intercepted by air defences.

Air raid sirens sounded in Israeli communities near the border.

One family’s house was hit, without causing any casualties, the army said, posting a picture of damage to a building on Twitter.

It was the second consecutive evening that the army reported rocket fire from Gaza, shattering a calm that had lasted since Sept 12.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2019