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Israeli aircraft strike in Gaza, sirens in southern Israel

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Israeli aircraft attacked in Gaza on Wednesday, witnesses said, and sirens warning of rocket fire from the Palestinian territory sounded in southern Israel.

The witnesses said a training base run by the Hamas militant group, which controls Gaza, was hit in the air strike. The Israeli military, which did not immediately confirm the attack, said rocket-warning sirens went off in Israeli communities bordering Gaza.

Hours earlier, a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza struck the coastal Israeli city of Ashdod, wounding two people, at the same time as Israel and two Gulf Arab states signed agreements in Washington to establish formal relations.

“I’m not surprised that the Palestinian terrorists fired at Israel precisely during this historic ceremony,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before his flight returning to Israel.

“They want to turn back the peace. In that, they will not succeed,” he told reporters. “We will strike at all those who raise a hand to harm us, and we will reach out to all those who extend the hand of peace to us.”

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, view the U.S.-brokered deals as a betrayal of their cause.

No casualties were reported on either side of the Israel-Gaza frontier. The military said eight of the rockets launched on Wednesday were intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system.

In a statement, the military said targets in Gaza included a weapons and explosives manufacturing factory and a compound used by Hamas for training and rocket experiments.

Without naming specific factions, the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza said that in response to the air strikes, the “resistance” fired rocket salvoes at Israel. 

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