Israeli jets pound targets across Gaza

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel’s air force bombed at least two sites in the Gaza Strip shortly after midnight on Saturday, an official said.

The eyewitnesses said Israeli F16 fighter jets targeted an open area east of the Shujayya neighborhood of Gaza City while military tanks launched several artillery shells at the Shujayya and Tuffah neighborhoods simultaneously.

Israeli warplanes also fired three missiles at an open area in Jabal Ar-Ra’is east of Gaza City and targeted another open area east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Other airstrikes targeted the town of Izbat Abed Rabbo in the northern Gaza Strip as well as the village of Al-Qarara east of Khan Younis. No causalities were reported, though material damages were sustained.

An Israeli military spokesman told Ma’an the strikes targeted "two terrorist tunnels" near the the Gaza-Israel border, which he said were intended for attacks on targets inside Israel. He added that the airstrikes came in retaliation for a mortar shell that was fired on the Israeli city of Netivot on Thursday, which caused no injuries.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s armed wing claimed to have launched that attack. In a statement, the leftist group termed the launch "a confirmation that resistance will continue in the new year and that the occupier’s massacres will not prevent our people from continuing our struggle until the recovery of our rights."

Friday night explosions in Jabaliya

A day earlier, residents of the Jabaliya Refugee Camp said Friday night explosions in the camp were caused by at least one Israeli shell that landed in an area believed to be used by guerillas to fire homemade projectiles into Israel.

  Selig Harrison and Pakistan Media

The Israeli spokesman, however, denied army involvement.

Locals believed the explosions were Israeli fire in retaliation for mortar fire aimed at Israel earlier in the day. Palestinian armed group in Gaza told Ma’an it fired five mortar shells at Israeli forces east of Rafah in southern Gaza. The An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), claimed to have conducted the attack in a statement.

Israel’s army confirmed that one shell fired by Gaza groups landed in an open area inside Gaza. No damage was reported.

Hours earlier, the PRC blamed Israel for an attempt to assassinate its secretary-general, Abu Al-Qasem Dughmush, in Gaza. The group said a man carrying a package of explosives appeared at Dughmush’s home, but the bomb failed to detonate.

On Thursday, PRC militants engaged in an exchange of gunfire with Israeli soldiers along the coast in the northern Gaza Strip, according to both the group and the Israeli military.