Israeli aircraft strike targets in Gaza Strip following rocket attack

Attack came in response to 'intolerable act of aggression against Israel and its civilians'

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The Independent Online

Israel launches airstrikes against the Gaza Strip overnight, in retaliation for six rockets which were fired from the Palestinian enclave.

Ending a relatively calm few weeks, four of the rockets fired into southern Israel landed in open area, with another two falling victim to the "Iron Dome" missile defence system, according to the Israeli military.

Returning fire, Israel claims its strikes hit two weapons storage facilities and a rocket launch site, with no injuries reported.

No group claimed responsibility for original attack, but Israel said it holds Hamas, which rules the coastal territory, accountable.

Rocket fire from Gaza has declined since Israel carried out an eight-day military campaign last November in response to frequent attacks. An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire has largely held, but sporadic fire still persists.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said: "Last night's rocket attack is an intolerable act of aggression against Israel and its civilians. Hamas is held accountable for all acts of terrorism deriving from the Gaza Strip."

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a total of six rockets were fired, causing no damage or injuries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the rocket fire, saying "my policy is to harm whoever tries to harm us ... That is how we will work and will continue to act against threats that are close and threats that are far."

According to The New York Times, Israel announced commercial cargo crossing the Israel/Gaza border would be stopped until further notice as a result of the attack.

In Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said: "Any Israeli aggression does not scare the Palestinian people."

Israel last struck in Gaza in April, when its aircraft hit and killed a top militant in a shadowy al-Qaida-influenced group who had been involved in a rocket attack. The rocket was launched from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where Gaza militants are believed to operate. A rocket last landed in Israel in May.