200224 Israeli
A ball of fire is seen following an Israel airstrike at Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early on February 23, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Occupied Jerusalem: Israeli aircraft hit what the military said were Islamic Jihad sites in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, after Palestinian militants said they fired a barrage of rockets at Israel.

In a new flareup a week ahead of a general election in the Jewish state, the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on “Islamic Jihad terror sites,” a military statement said, without elaborating.

Palestinian security sources said the Israeli aircraft repeatedly hit a base of the radical group in the north of the coastal strip.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

In what an army spokeswoman said was a separate operation, a military aircraft fired at “Islamic Jihad terror operatives preparing to launch rockets,” from the northern Gaza Strip.

“A hit was identified,” a military statement said.

Islamic Jihad said it carried out Sunday’s rocket fire in response to Israel’s killing of one of its fighters earlier in the day.

“The Palestinian resistance targeted Sunday evening the city of Ashkelon and the Gaza envelope with a number of rockets, as a response to the crime of the Zionist enemy,” it said in a statement.

The rockets set off warning sirens in the southern city of Ashkelon and several other locations, while around 10 were intercepted by the Jewish state’s Iron Dome missile defence system, the Israeli army said.

Others crashed into open fields. There were no reports of serious injuries.

“Twenty launches were identified from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory,” a military statement said.