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Israeli warplanes conduct fresh airstrikes against blockaded Gaza Strip

A picture taken on October 27, 2018 shows a fireball exploding during Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli warplanes have carried out fresh airstrikes against the besieged Gaza Strip, shortly after soldiers of the occupying regime shot dead several protesters from the impoverished enclave.

Israel military aircraft struck several locations in the Gaza Strip late on Friday, including one in the east of Rafah town and the other in the central parts of the sliver. No reports have yet been released about possible casualties due to the airstrikes.

The Israeli military claimed in a statement that the aerial aggression was in retaliation for 16 rockets fired against the southern parts of the occupied territories earlier in the day.

It added that Israel’s so-called Iron Dome managed to intercept at least 10 of the inbound rockets and the remaining six reportedly exploded in open areas and inflicted no damage or casualties. However, the incoming rockets triggered eight different sirens for hours across several settlements, prompting thousands of settlers to rush for bomb shelters.

On Thursday, Israeli fighter jets had also hit eight targets belonging to the Hamas resistance movement near the towns of Khan Younis and Rafah, besides other targets.

The airstrikes on Friday came hours after five Palestinian protesters were shot dead by Israeli military forces in the weekly anti-occupation rallies along the border that separates the Gaza Strip from the occupied territories.

Tensions have been running high near the border fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with Washington's relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 200 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.

The territory has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014 and ended in late August the same year. The Israeli military aggression killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and injured over 11,100 others.

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