Israeli warplanes bombed a smuggling tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border
early Monday in response to Palestinian rocket and mortar fire, in a
brief flare-up of violence at a time of relative quiet in the volatile
exchanges of fire, once routine, have become rare in recent months.
Rocket fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza has largely subsided since a
fierce Israeli offensive against militants early this year.
There were no reports of casualties in any of the attacks.
Sunday, Gaza militants launched mortar shells at a border crossing
between Gaza and Israel just as Palestinian patients were being
transferred into Israel for medical treatment, according to Dr. Moaiya
Hassanain of the Gaza Health Ministry.
Hassanain said it was a "miracle" that no one was hurt.
to the procedure, Palestinian patients are brought to the crossing in
local ambulances, transferred to Israeli ambulances and taken to
hospitals inside Israel.
Palestinian militant factions said they fired 12 mortars at the Erez
crossing. The Israeli military said about six shells exploded near the
crossing as the transfer was in progress.
military said Monday's airstrike came in response to the renewed
militant fire and targeted a smuggling tunnel running underground
between Egypt and Gaza.
been subject to a blockade by Egypt and Israel since Hamas seized power
in the territory two years ago, with Israel allowing in only vital
supplies. Gazan smugglers use the tunnels to bring in everything from
gas to livestock, clothes and weapons.