Occupied Jerusalem - Israeli regime warplanes hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early on Thursday allegedly in response to rocket fire from the territory into southern Israel, the regime said.

Hamas said there were no casualties in the strikes.

An Israeli occupation army spokeswoman said the raids were in response to a rocket fired from Gaza which caused no casualties or damage but which evaded Israel’s Iron Dome defence system, triggering an inquiry.

It was the first such fire from Gaza since October 17 when a rocket severely damaged a family home in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, prompting some 20 retaliatory air strikes which killed one Palestinian and the temporary suspension of fuel deliveries to Gaza.

Hamas and its allies disavowed the recent rocket fire blaming fringe groups bent on sabotaging UN and Egyptian efforts to broker a long-term truce in return for a relaxation of Israel’s crippling 11-year blockade of the impoverished territory.

The latest flare-up comes after months of Palestinian protests along the Gaza border that have drawn a deadly response from Israeli occupation troops, which have killed more than 200 Palestinians in Gaza since March 30. One Israeli soldier has been killed in the border area over the same period.

The protesters have been demanding an end to Israel’s blockade and the right of return to land now inside Israel, from which their families were expelled or fled during the 1948 war that accompanied its creation.