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Israeli air force strikes Gaza amid violence in occupied West Bank

Israel has launched an attack on Gaza amid rising tensions in the occupied West Bank, where 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since last week.

The Israeli military said the air raids in the early hours of Sunday targeted sites belonging to Hamas, which governs the Israel-blockaded Palestinian enclave, including a weapons manufacturing facility and an underground tunnel, according to Anadolu Agency.

Security sources in Gaza reported two strikes in the south of the enclave, one against a military training site in Khan Younis and the other in an uninhabited area close to Rafah. The strikes caused no injuries, according to Palestinian medical sources.

The Israeli army said their attack on sites in Gaza was launched after a rocket landed in southern Israel on Saturday evening in an open area near the Gaza-Israel fence without causing casualties or damage to property.

No group has claimed responsibility for the rocket. 

Hamas responded to the Israeli attacks by firing surface-to-air missiles, the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the movement, said in a statement.

Israel’s air raid on Gaza comes amid the deadliest year on record for Palestinians since the end of the second Intifada in 2005. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, near-daily military raids into the occupied West bank have killed over 140 Palestinians, including at least 30 children.

An additional 51 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during a three-day Israeli bombardment in August, including 17 children.

READ MORE: Palestinians in occupied territories face one of deadliest years on record

Extended aggression

The rocket attack came as one of Gaza’s larger armed factions, Islamic Jihad, threatened to retaliate after Israeli troops killed two of its leaders in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday and after outrage over the killing of a 22-year-old Palestinian man, Ammar Mufleh, by an Israeli soldier in broad daylight in south Nablus on Friday.

The killing of Mufleh, who was shot at point-blank range, was captured on video. The footage sparked widespread anger among Palestinians and calls on social media to escalate resistance against the Israeli occupation.

“The Zionist enemy is extending its aggression against our people by brutally bombarding the Gaza Strip, following its crime yesterday of executing the martyr Ammar Mufleh in Huwara,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.

READ MORE: Israeli officer kills Palestinian man in occupied West Bank

The surge in bloodshed in the occupied West Bank has sparked international criticism of the Israeli army for its use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, released a statement saying he was “greatly concerned about the increasing level of violence in the occupied West Bank”.

“During the last days alone, 10 Palestinians have been killed by ISF (Israeli Security Forces). Yesterday’s tragic killing of a Palestinian man, Ammar Mifleh, by a member of the ISF (Israeli Security Forces) was the latest example,” Borrell said.

“Such unacceptable facts must be investigated and there must be full accountability. Under international law, lethal force is only justified in situations in which there exists a serious and imminent threat to life,” he said. 

READ MORE: Türkiye condemns Israel for ‘summary executions’ in occupied West Bank

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