Israeli fighter aircraft and attack helicopters conducted airstrikes targeting the besieged Palestinian Gaza strip late on July 5, Sunday. Local Palestinian media reported that the Israelis struck areas in the eastern part of Gaza, but no casualties were reported. At least one of the Israeli missiles struck an agricultural plot of land, resulting in a loud explosion in the eastern part of al-Zeitoun district of Gaza. The Israeli military later claimed that the airstrikes were conducted in response to rocket fire from Gaza earlier.
In a statement, the Israeli military said that they had targeted “underground facilities” used by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in the Northern Gaza strip, along with a “workshop to produce rockets as well as infrastructure used to manufacture weapons for Hamas”. The statement also claimed that three rockets were fired towards Israel. Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported that two of the three rockets landed in an open area in Southern Israel, while the third rocket was intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system.
However, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any other Palestinian group did not take responsibility for these rocket attacks. Last week, Hamas had reportedly fired rockets into Israel on July 1, the date on which Israel was scheduled to start implementing its illegal and highly controversial annexation plan. As per the plan, Israel intends to annex large areas of the West Bank on which the illegal settlements are built, as well as the Jordan Valley, on the border between the occupied West Bank and neighboring Jordan.
Hamas had stated in June that the Israeli annexation plan would amount to a “declaration of war.” The annexation plan would also effectively end all Palestinian hopes for an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state under any future two-state solution. Protests have been continuously taking place across Palestine and in many other countries against the plan. The plan was also criticized by a number of UN experts who termed it illegal and a violation of the human rights of Palestinians.