GAZA CITY: Israel carried out a series of air strikes against Hamas in Gaza early on Thursday, the army said, hours after more rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave. The Israeli army also announced it would close the border crossings between blockaded Gaza and Israel — Kerem Shalom for goods and Erez for people — from Thursday “due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments.”
A military spokeswoman could not say whether the closure would be for one day or more.
In a statement, the Israeli army said it had targeted three Hamas military facilities in different parts of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
“The military facilities were used as training and weapons storage compounds,” the army said.
“This was in response to the projectiles fired at Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.”
A Palestinian security source said there were more than 10 strikes on the targets, which included a Hamas naval facility and a military base near the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.
The source said there had been significant damage to the targets, as well as lesser damage to nearby houses, where some residents suffered minor injuries.
The strikes came hours after Israel’s air defence system intercepted two rockets fired from Gaza.
Such rockets are generally fired by fringe groups but Israel holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any fire from the territory.
There has been an uptick in violence from Gaza since US President Donald Trump announced he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week.
There have been 12 projectiles fired at Israel from Gaza since December 6, with Israeli retaliatory strikes targeting 10 sites in the Palestinian enclave.
The recent rocket fire has not caused any casualties in Israel.
The head of Hamas called on Thursday for fresh protests across the world against Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“We demand the Islamic world make every Friday a day of anger and revolution in every capital and city until we bring down Trump’s decision,” Ismail Haniya said.
“We ask churches, the Pope and our Christian brothers to devote their Sunday prayers to Jerusalem,” he added. Speaking in front of tens of thousands of supporters in Hamas-run Gaza at an event to commemorate the movement’s 30th anniversary, Haniya railed against Trump’s December 6 announcement.
“We will bring down Trump’s decision once and for all,” he added.
The event was attended by major Hamas figures as well as politicians from other political parties, including longtime rivals Fatah.
The two signed an October reconciliation agreement that was supposed to see Hamas hand over control in Gaza by December 1, but the deal has faltered.
Lebanon said on Thursday it would examine a proposal to open an embassy in East Jerusalem in support of Palestinians infuriated by US recognition of the divided city as Israel’s capital.
Lebanon’s state news agency NNA reported that the government agreed to form a ministerial committee to study the proposal made by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri will chair the committee, according to NNA. Bassil tweeted that he had asked Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to offer Lebanon a piece of land for the envisaged embassy.