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Israel hits ‘military site’ after rocket fire at Gaza: Army

#Israel #hits #military #site #rocket #fire #Gaza #Army

Israeli warplanes attacked an arms factory in the Gaza Strip early Saturday, the military said, after rockets were fired into Israeli territory.

The exchange of fire came hours after US President Joe Biden visited Israel and the occupied West Bank.

“Recently, IDF fighter jets attacked a military base owned by the terrorist organization Hamas in the central Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“The military site consists of an underground complex containing raw materials used in the manufacture of missiles,” it said, describing the facility as “one of the most important” of its kind on the territory.

“The attack on this compound will severely hamper and undermine Hamas’ force-building capabilities,” it said, adding that Israel was responding to “attacks from Gaza on Israeli territory.”

During the night there were two separate launches, each with two rockets, on Israeli territory, the military said.

Warning sirens warning residents of rocket fire had been sounded throughout the night in the city of Ashkelon and elsewhere in southern Israel.

Israel’s military said one of the rockets was intercepted while the other three fell on empty land.

The impoverished Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007, when the Islamist movement Hamas took power.

– Biden visit –

Before flying to Saudi Arabia on Friday, Biden visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where he reaffirmed his government’s commitment to a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There “must be a political horizon that the Palestinian people can actually see,” Biden said.

“I know that the goal of the two states seems so far away,” he said in Bethlehem alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas said “recognition of the State of Palestine” is the key to peace.

With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stalled since 2014, the US delegation has focused on economic measures.

Biden announced an additional $200 million for the United Nations agency, which serves Palestinian refugees whose funding has been cut by former US President Donald Trump.

During a visit earlier Friday to a hospital in Israel-annexed East Jerusalem, Biden pledged a $100 million aid package for medical facilities in the region.

He also announced plans to roll out infrastructure for 4G internet throughout Gaza and the West Bank by the end of next year, fulfilling a longstanding Palestinian wish.

Earlier, Biden held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, which focused on Iran’s nuclear program and that country’s support for Hamas and other Islamist groups.

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