The Israeli air force Tuesday launched fresh raids on targets in
the Gaza Strip one day after Palestinian armed groups in the
territory expressed their willingness for a ceasefire.
Three air raids hit an uninhabited area to the west of Gaza City
today morning, without causing any casualties, Palestinian
security sources and witnesses said.
The Israeli targets included a
training camp of the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing
of the Palestinian movement Hamas, the sources said.
An Israeli army spokesman said the
planes attacked an arms dump and two rocket launch sites.
The air raids came hours after Gaza
fighters on Monday fired six rockets at southern Israel. Monday's
rocket fire was claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
and the Popular Resistance Committees.
The main Palestinian fighter groups in the Gaza Strip said on
Monday that they are ready for a ceasefire if Israel "stops its
aggression" against the territory.
"The Islamic and nationalist
movement confirms that the response of the resistance depends on
whether the Zionist aggression against our people is continued,"
they said in a statement read out at a news conference in Gaza
The offer was made after fighters
fired more rockets at southern Israel, wounding eight people, in
retaliation for the killing of six Palestinians on Saturday.
On Sunday night, Israel carried out
air strikes in northern and southern Gaza, and Palestinians began
launching rockets into Israel from around 7:30am local time on
Israel's top military officials were said to be weighing whether
to launch a more serious response to the violence, and Defense
Minister Ehud Barak warned that efforts to stamp out rocket fire
"These are very important days ...
in light of the ongoing activity against Hamas and terror
organisations in Gaza, which is likely to intensify and expand,"
he said, quoted by his office.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, touring southern Israel with foreign diplomats, warned
that "the world must understand that Israel has the complete right
and the obligation to protect its citizens".
"We shall not sit with our arms
folded in the face of repeated, almost daily, attacks on our
citizens," he said adding, "We shall act to stop it."
US ambassador Dan Shapiro, writing
on Facebook, has said "the United States supports Israel's right
to defend itself and its citizens from these attacks."
In light of the violence, European
Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday urged both
sides to "refrain from exacerbating the situation."