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Gaza rockets, Israeli airstrikes accompany pacts between Israel and the Gulf

JERUSALEM / GAZA (Reuters) – Gaza militants sent rockets into Israel, and Israeli planes hit targets in the Palestinian enclave in an explosive setting for the signing of formal ties between Israel and two Arab Gulf states.

The Israeli military said it launched about 10 airstrikes in Hamas’ Islamist Gaza early Wednesday, and that 15 rockets had been fired from the territory at Israeli communities near the border, where sirens sounded before dawn.

On Tuesday, a rocket from Gaza hit the coastal Israeli city of Ashdod, injuring two people at the same time as Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements in the White House to establish diplomatic relations.

“I am not surprised that the Palestinian terrorists fired at Israel just during this historic ceremony,”

; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before his flight back to Israel.

“They want to return the peace. In that, they will not be successful, “he told reporters. “We will strike at all those who raise a hand to harm us, and we will reach out to all those who extend the hand of peace to us.”

Palestinians seeking an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza see the US-brokered agreements as a betrayal of their cause.

No casualties were reported on either side of the Israeli-Gaza border. The military said eight of the rockets launched on Wednesday were intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system.

In a statement, the military said the targets in Gaza included a weapons and explosives factory and a compound used by Hamas for training and rocket experiments.

Without mentioning specific factions, the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza said that in response to the airstrikes, the “resistance” fired rocket fire at Israel.

Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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