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Middle East

Israel strikes Hamas militants over rocket fire

The Israeli military has targeted "two Hamas posts" in the Gaza Strip after a rocket landed in Israeli territory. At least three people were hospitalized by the airstrikes, including one in critical condition.

Israeli warplanes early Wednesday launched airstrikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket attack by militants in the coastal enclave.

"A short while ago, a projectile hit an open region in the Ashkelon region. No injuries have been reported," the Israeli Defense Forces said in a tweet. "In response, IAF aircraft targeted two Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip."

Public health authorities in Gaza City said three people were taken to a hospital due to injuries sustained during the airstrike. At least one of the injured was in critical condition, a medical official added.

Read more: What it means to be a soldier in Israel

Israeli security sources said the airstrikes targeted sites used by Hamas' military wing Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades in retaliation for firing a rocket into Israeli territory. The sources added that the rocket attack did not result in Israeli casualties.

Hard-line Islamist groups opposed to Hamas' rule frequently launch rockets into Israeli territory. The groups tend to accuse Hamas of failing to resist the occupation. However, Israel generally holds Hamas responsible for the attacks, even if they are not the culprits.

Gaza under Hamas rule

In 2006, Hamas won nearly 45 percent of the vote during parliamentary elections, effectively placing it in a position to lead the government.

However, fighting between Hamas and rival faction Fatah, alongside Israeli attacks on the Palestinian government, led to open conflict and the Islamist movement taking control of the Gaza Strip.

Read more: When Israelis started to talk about the occupation

Since assuming power, Hamas has fought three wars with Israel. The most recent conflict in 2014 left at least 2,000 Palestinians dead, including more than 500 children, along with 73 Israelis, most soldiers.

Attempts to foster progress on a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain elusive, in part due to reluctance from the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Fatah's failure to jointly administer the occupied Palestinian Territories with Hamas.

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ls/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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