Israel Bombs Gaza, Tightens Blockade

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Smoke rises after an Israeli airstriked in Gaza City. (File Photo: AFP)

GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes bombed the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday, as Palestinians fired rockets and launched fire bombs into southern Israel, the army said.

Israeli planes launched raids against Gaza shortly after midnight on Thursday and then again later on Friday morning.

Israel said the bombs were in response to seven rockets launched from Gaza, six of which were intercepted by its air defence system. Witnesses in Gaza said rockets were launched towards the town of Sderot, just across the border.

The rocket that was not intercepted damaged the roof of a house in Sderot, but did not cause any casualties, a photographer said. Israel has bombed Gaza almost every night since August 6 in retaliation for the launch of balloons fitted with fire bombs, or less frequently, rocket fire, across the border.

The number of rockets fired from Gaza was the largest number in a day since the latest round of exchanges began two weeks ago.

Israel has also tightened its blockade of Gaza’s two million inhabitants. It has banned Gaza fishermen from going to sea and closed its goods crossing with the territory, prompting the closure of Gaza’s sole power plant for want of fuel.

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