Fighters fired rockets from the besieged Gaza Strip towards Israel Tuesday while Israel conducted air strikes on the territory after the death of a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike in Israeli custody.
The exchange of fire came hours after 45-year-old prisoner Khader Adnan died, nearly three months after being detained in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli military first responded to the rocket strikes with tank fire. It followed up late Tuesday night Israeli time conducting air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
The rocket attacks from Gaza were centred on the Israeli town of Sderot and other areas close to the frontier with Gaza. Palestinian media outlets reported explosions in the northern region of Gaza. No casualties have been reported.
The fighting has revived fears about an escalation of violence in the region. In April, the Israeli military launched air strikes on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip after rockets were fired from Lebanon’s south in response to raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Israel earlier on Tuesday to halt “unilateral measures” that could raise tensions further in his first meeting with Israel’s foreign minister.
“Borrell reiterated the EU’s call for Israel to halt unilateral measures that could heighten the already high level of tension and jeopardise the very possibility of a future just and sustainable peace based on the two-state solution,” the EU’s foreign service said after the meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Brussels.
He condemned the recent attacks against Israelis and stressed the EU’s commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself.
But he also warned “any response must be proportionate and in line with international law”, the foreign service said in a statement.
“At the same time, he expressed concern about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
The Palestinian activist Khader Adnan had been arrested more than 10 times in his life, spending a total of eight years behind bars, according to Palestinian prisoner monitoring groups.
A member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, Adnan had been on hunger strike in protest against his detention since 5 February, when he was arrested at his home in Arraba, a town in the occupied West Bank, south of Jenin.