Israeli warplanes bomb Gaza after rocket fire

Missiles were fired from Gaza after four Palestinian fugitives from Gilboa prison were arrested

Israel’s military has said it carried out air strikes in Gaza on Sunday in response to Palestinian rocket fire.

Fighter jets struck Hamas sites in the enclave after a rocket was fired towards Israel on Friday evening, the military said.

There were no reports of casualties.

Militants fired a rocket into Israel when two of six escaped Palestinian prisoners were apprehended on Friday and then again on Saturday, after two more of the fugitives were caught.

Earlier on Friday, Hamas had called for “a day of rage” to protest against an Israeli crackdown on imprisoned Palestinians, but the day passed without a major confrontation.

However, a Palestinian man died in Jerusalem shortly after being shot by Israeli police in the Old City, where he had reportedly tried to stab officers.

Tension between Israel and the Palestinians has risen since six Palestinians tunnelled out of Gilboa prison on Monday, setting off a manhunt in Israel and the West Bank.

The escape exposed major flaws in Israel’s prison service and set off days of angry recriminations.

It also increased tension between Israel and the Palestinians at a time when a rise in cross-border violence has tested the fragile truce that ended 11 days of fighting in May.

Israeli defence minister accuses Iran of training foreign militias in drone attacks

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz accused Iran of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan.

Last month, Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman.

Israel has combined military strikes with diplomatic pressure to repel what it describes as an effort by Tehran to beef up regional clout through support for allied guerrillas.

Benny Gantz, head of Resilience party is seen after a news conference, in Tel Aviv, Israel February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

In what his office described as a new disclosure, Mr Gantz said Iran was using the Kashan airbase north of Isfahan to train “terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in flying Iranian-made UAVs” [unmanned aerial vehicles].

Iran was also trying to “transfer know-how that would allow the manufacturing of UAVs in the Gaza Strip”, Mr Gantz said during a conference at Reichman University, near Tel Aviv.

His office provided what it said were satellite images showing UAVs on the runways at Kashan.

A blast on July 29 aboard the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime, near the mouth of the Arabian Gulf killed two crew members, a Briton and a Romanian.

The US military said explosives experts from the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier – which was deployed to assist the Mercer Streetconcluded the explosion was from a drone produced in Iran.

Iran has denied involvement.

Updated: September 12th 2021, 3:39 PM