Israel launches airstrike on Gaza in apparent retaliation for rocket attack

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories are expected to heighten after Israeli aircraft bombed a site in the Khan Younis area of the southern Gaza Strip on Friday (December 19).

The target is believed to have been a Hamas base.

According to a spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the attack was in response to a rocket fired from Gaza, which hit an open area in the south of Israel.

There are no reports of casualties following either strike.

Israel’s attacks are the first since a seven-week war on Gaza ended three months ago.

The incident is expected to put a further strain on an already tense Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Israeli-occupied West Bank have all seen months of violent clashes.

A day before the strikes, Israel denounced a Palestinian-proposed UN Security Council draft resolution for peace.

In addition to calling for peace within a year, the resolution proposes an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories by 2017.

Commenting on the proposal, Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs, said:

“This Palestinian move is a hostile and extremely unfriendly step against Israel. It’s not a step towards peace, it’s a step towards war.”

However, Assem Araura, a resident of the West Bank city of Ramallah, was enthusiastic about the motion:

“This is a good step towards ending the occupation under very complicated security conditions, under the barbaric actions of the (Israeli) occupation against Palestinians. And, God willing, we reach a solution to end the Palestinian case and we end the Israeli presence in the Palestinian territories.”

The draft resolution follows the April 2014 breakdown of US-mediated talks on Palestinian statehood.