The Gaza Strip has been rocked by a series of Israeli airstrikes, following a number of attacks in Israel earlier in the day.
Between Thursday night and the early hours of Friday morning, Israel bombed the Palestinian enclave seven times, killing one and injuring 17 others, claim local medical sources. Targets are said to include two training bases of the armed wing of Hamas.
In the first of the air strikes, five members of the Popular Resistance Committees, who Israel blame for the violence, were killed. Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the armed Palestinian group, said it had nothing to do with the violence against Israel.
“We deny taking part in the attacks,” he said. “The occupation is accusing us of being the perpetrators so they can close the file on this incident. We, the Palestinian resistance, believe they have started this battle by targeting our leaders. They are the ones who began this battle, but they won’t be in charge of ending it.”
The attacks happened close to the resort city of Eilat, on a road near the border with Egypt and it is believed those responsible crossed over through Egypt’s Sinai desert.
The seven dead passengers killed when an Israeli bus was targeted included one soldier. Other vehicles in the area were attacked with rockets and explosive devices.
Egypt says it has increased security in recent days to curb Palestinian and Islamist radicals. However, officials say three Egyptian policemen were killed when an Israeli helicopter fired a rocket near the border town of Rafah.