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September 17, 2019
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Israeli fighter jets pound Gaza Strip

GAZA, Palestine: Israeli warplanes targeted positions of Hamas in Gaza Strip after the military claimed rockets were fired from the territory into Israel.

Israeli authorities announced a reduction in the flow of fuel to the strip’s main power station as ‘punishment’ which will cut in the already rationed electricity supply.

The Israeli army claimed that three rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Sunday night.

“Three launches were identified from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” it said in a statement. “Two of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defence system.”

“In response, a short while ago, (Israeli air force) fighter jets struck a number of terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip, including the office of a Hamas battalion commander,” a statement on Monday morning added.

However, no casualty was reported due to the Israeli attack.

A separate statement from Israeli defence ministry unit COGAT said the latest fuel cut was personally ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defence minister.

“The prime minister and minister of defence, Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered to downsize the transfer of fuel through the Kerem Shalom (border) crossing to the power station in Gaza by half, effective this morning and until further notice,” it said in English.

Netanyahu is fighting for reelection in a potentially tough general election on September 17 with critics from his right-wing power base calling for tougher action against the Islamist Hamas.

Nevertheless, analysts say, he is anxious to avoid escalation ahead of the polls.

Gaza is ruled by Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel over the past decade.