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Tension renewed as Israeli aircraft hit militant targets in Gaza after rocket fire
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Tension renewed as Israeli aircraft hit militant targets in Gaza after rocket fire


Jerusalem: Israel's military said early Sunday it launched strikes against militant targets in the Gaza Strip, a day after rockets were fired from the Hamas-ruled territory.

Video filmed in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, showed three huge explosions and fighter jets could be heard flying overhead. There was no immediate confirmation of possible casualties.

The Israeli military said the attacks targeted a rocket manufacturing facility and a military post for Hamas. It also blamed the militant Islamic group for any violence emanating from the territory it controls.

The airstrikes come as retaliation for two rockets fired from Gaza on Saturday which landed in the Mediterranean Sea off central Israel.

Meanwhile, tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have flared up, causing a spate of injuries among Palestinians in the West Bank and damage in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said in a statement that 85 Palestinian protesters were injured during clashes late Saturday night in the village of Burqa, north of the West Bank city of Nablus, reports Xinhua news agency.

Palestinian witnesses in the village said that the clashes erupted when a group of Israeli settlers tried to reach the settlement of Homesh, which was evacuated in 2005.

The PRCS statement added that five Palestinian protesters were shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers during clashes near the West Bank city of Qalqilya, while dozens fainted after inhaling tear gas fired by the soldiers.

Similar clashes also took place in two villages near the city of Jenin in the northern tip of the West Bank between dozens of Palestinian protestors and Israeli soldiers, leaving several protesters injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.

The Israeli army has made no immediate comment on the clashes or the Palestinian injuries.

Apart from a single incident in September, there has been no cross-border rocket fire since a cease-fire ended an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May.

The cease-fire, brokered by Egypt and other mediators, has been fragile. The militant Hamas group says Israel did not take serious steps to ease the blockade it imposed on Gaza with Egypt's help when the Islamic movement seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007.

Tension is also high as other groups like the smaller but more hardline Islamic Jihad threaten military escalation if Israel doesn't end the administrative detention of a Palestinian prisoner who has been on a hunger strike for over 130 days.

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