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  • Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Ahmed Al-Shahri, 27, during his funeral Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Nov. 2, 2019.

    Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Ahmed Al-Shahri, 27, during his funeral Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Nov. 2, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 November 2019

The health ministry identified the person killed as Ahmed al-Shehri, 27. It did not say whether he was affiliated with any armed groups.

Israel carried out retaliatory strikes on Gaza Saturday killing a Palestinian and wounding two others, following two nights of rocket attacks that were the first since September.

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Dozens of pre-dawn strikes targeted bases of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, which rules the strip, and those of allied militant groups, a Gaza security source said.

The Israeli army said the strikes targeted "a wide range of Hamas terror targets", including a naval base, a military compound and a weapons manufacturing plant.

The health ministry identified the person killed as Ahmed al-Shehri, 27. It did not say whether he was affiliated with any armed groups. Two other Palestinians were seriously wounded, the ministry said.

Hundreds of Palestinians attended Shehri's funeral Saturday in the southern Gaza Strip, an AFP correspondent said.

The sound of explosions had been heard across the tiny but densely populated territory, AFP correspondents said. 

After daybreak, curious onlookers gathered around a large crater scooped out of the sandy soil by the force of one of the blasts.

A Hamas source said it had fired at the Israeli aircraft carrying out the raids and the Israeli military confirmed fresh "incoming fire".

"The Zionist enemy bears full responsibility for the consequences," of the pre-dawn air raids, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.

He said the strikes targeted "innocent civilians" and represented a "serious escalation".

The strikes came after at least 10 rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel late Friday causing damage but no casualties.

Local officials in Gaza said installations of Islamic Jihad, another prominent militant group operating in the coastal enclave, were also hit.

The Israeli military said eight of the rockets were intercepted by air defenses. Air raid sirens sounded in Israeli communities near the border.

There have been repeated bouts of violence between Hamas and Israel over the past year as the resistance party have sought to improve on the terms of a U.N.- and Egyptian-brokered truce first hammered out in November last year. 

In return for Hamas silencing the rockets, Israel agreed a package of measures to ease the crippling blockade it has imposed on Gaza for more than a decade.

They included allowing in millions of dollars in aid from Qatar to pay for fuel for the territory's sole power station and cash for salaries and grants to tens of thousands of needy families.

The truce has also seen Israel expand the distance it allows Gaza fishermen out into the Mediterranean - although the Jewish state reduces it or even cuts it to zero in response to what it deems as "violence" from the enclave.

The concessions authorized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been criticized by his opponents, including by his challenger for the premiership, centrist former military chief Benny Gantz.

Gantz called a renewal of the truce agreed by Netanyahu in May "capitulation to blackmail".

The Palestinians have also pressed on with weekly demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border first launched in March last year.

The protests have frequently drawn live fire from Israeli forces stationed along the heavily fortified border fence. More than 90 Palestinians were wounded in this Friday's demonstrations, the health ministry said.

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