20 Dec 2014

Israel launches first Gaza attack since August

Israeli aircraft bomb a Hamas militant base in the Gaza strip, in their first strike in Gaza since a ceasefire was declared four months ago.

The air strike was carried out in response to a rocket fired earlier from Gaza, according to a statement from the Israeli military.

Two explosions were heard in the Khan Yunis area of Gaza, according to residents cited by the Associated Press.

The air strike targeted “Hamas terror infrastructure”, according to the Israeli Defence Force, in response to a rocket that landed in Eshkol, southern Israel, on Friday.

The rocket landed in an open field and no casualties or damage was reported.

Israel’s air strike on Gaza reportedly resulted in no casualties.

‘Unlimited ceasefire’

In August, Israel and Hamas accepted Egyptian proposals for a long-term ceasefire after seven weeks of conflict and the loss of more than 2,000 lives.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “a complete and unlimited-in-time ceasefire” had been agreed.

Israel also agreed to open its borders to allow humanitarian aid and building materials to be sent to Gaza, as well as the widening of Gaza’s fishing zone in the Mediterranean.

Palestinian health officials said 2,129 people – most of them civilians and including more than 490 children – had been killed in Gaza since 8 July, when Israel’s military offensive began.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel were also been killed.

Thousands of homes in Gaza were destroyed or damaged in the conflict.

Israel has said Hamas bears responsibility for civilian casualties because it operates among non-combatants and uses schools and mosques to store weapons and as launch sites for rockets.