JERUSALEM (AP) – An Israeli plane hit a series of targets in the Gaza Strip early Monday in response to a series of rocket fire from Hamas-ruled territory. It was the third consecutive night of clashes between enemies.
Tensions have escalated following the escape of six Palestinian prisoners from an Israeli prison last week, as well as Egypt’s efforts to negotiate a long-term ceasefire following an 11-day war last May.
The Israeli military reported three separate rocket launches Sunday night and early Monday, saying that at least two of them were intercepted by its rocket defenses.
In response, he said he hit several Hamas targets. There were no reports of casualties on either side.
Over the weekend, Israel captured four of the six Palestinian prisoners, who exited a tunnel from a maximum security prison on September 6. Palestinian militants responded by firing rockets. Israel’s search for the last two prisoners continues.
Meanwhile, Egypt-mediated efforts to achieve a long-term truce have run into trouble with parties unable to agree on a system to renew Qatari payments to needy families in Gaza. Israel has demanded guarantees that Hamas does not divert the money for military use.
Gaza is an impoverished territory whose population is largely made up of families who fled or were evicted from properties in what is now Israel during the war that surrounded the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Hamas is pushing for Israel to end a crippling blockade that has devastated Gaza’s economy, while Israel is demanding that Hamas release two captive Israeli civilians and return the remains of two dead Israeli soldiers.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since it toppled internationally recognized Palestinian Authority forces in 2007, a year after the Islamic militant group won the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Since then, Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and numerous smaller rounds of combat.