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Israel, Gaza Militants Trade Strikes for Second Time in Ten Days

Israel struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Thursday for the second time in ten days, a military spokesman said.

The strikes successfully hit three “terror infrastructures,” Israel Defense Force spokesman Lt. Col Peter Lerner said.

The strikes were in response to two rockets launched into Southern Israel from Gaza. Lerner said the rockets hit open areas near the cities of Ashkelon and Netivot, and no injuries were reported, but "more than 140,000 Israeli lives were at jeopardy."

“Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live normal lives but instead Hamas chooses to use the Gaza Strip as a launch pad for rocket attacks,” Lerner said. “The IDF will act against the aggression, will act against those that wish to terrorize Israel and will act to protect Israelis in the line of indiscriminate Gaza rocket fire.”

A radical Islamist Salafist group posted a statement on Twitter claiming responsibility for firing the rockets. Calling itself the Omar Brigades, the group said it was retaliating for Hamas's killing of an Islamic State supporter in a Gaza shootout on Tuesday.

"We are continuing with our jihad against the Jews, the enemies of God, and no one will be able to deter us," the statement said, using the term in Arabic for holy war.

The attacks threaten to undo a 10-month ceasefire that ended 50 days of fighting between Gaza militants and Israel last summer. Health officials said more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the fighting. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.

Amnesty International has accused both sides of committing war crimes in the fighting.