Israel’s warplanes launch airstrike in the Gaza Strip

Apr 19, 2022: Israel’s warplanes launched a strike in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, targeting what the military said was a Hamas weapons manufacturing site.

No casualties or injuries have been reported by the Palestinian Health Ministry. Hamas said they retaliated with surface-to-air missiles.

“Our air defence responded to Zionist warplanes in the skies of the Gaza Strip with surface-to-air missiles at exactly 01.35 local time (1035GMT) Tuesday morning,” it said in a statement.

The attack comes after a rocket fired from the besieged Gaza Strip into southern Israel was intercepted on Monday, in the first such attack in months amid soaring tensions over a flashpoint holy site in occupied East Jerusalem.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that administers the coastal enclave, had warned that any incidents at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound would be a “red line” after Israeli forces raided the site in East Jerusalem several times in recent days, arresting hundreds of Palestinians and leaving dozens injured.

Palestinians accuse Israel of encroaching at Al-Aqsa during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israel says Palestinian protesters seek to disrupt Muslim prayer for political ends and to prevent visits by Jews, who are celebrating Passover.

Prior to the rocket attack, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett accused Hamas of waging a “wild harassment campaign” against Israel.

Egypt and Jordan, which inked peace agreements with Israel decades ago and coordinate with it on security matters, have condemned the actions of Israeli forces at the site.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Monday that Israel’s “unilateral” moves against Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque seriously undermined the prospects for peace in the region, according to state media.

Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh on Monday offered praise for members of the Islamic Waqf, the trust that oversees the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, “who stands tall and those who throw rocks at the pro-Zionists who are defiling Al-Aqsa Mosque while under the security of the Israeli occupation government.”

In response to al-Khasawneh’s remarks, Bennett said: “This is unacceptable to us. This is a reward for the inciters, especially Hamas, which are trying to ignite violence in Jerusalem.”

On Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli police inside the mosque compound, the latest outbreak in an upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict.

Crackdowns by Israeli forces on protesters who were demonstrating against attempts to forcibly expel Palestinians from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah last year were a trigger for an escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza.

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