Israeli warplanes launched an overnight raid on a Hamas facility in Gaza in what the army said was a “retaliatory attack.” Health officals in Gaza said one person was injured in the strikes.

Israeli warplane

Israel launched an overnight air raid on a Hamas facility in Gaza Thursday after gunfire from the territory targeted its soldiers and damaged a building in the town of Sderot.

The exchange of fire stems from weeks of protests over the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which peaked on Monday when some 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.

What happened:

  • Israeli military said warplanes attacked a Hamas weapons factory in the Gaza Strip.
  • The strikes came in retaliation to machine gunfire that damaged several houses in Sderot, the army added.
  • The Palestinian health ministry said one person was injured.

Watch video02:15

Israeli forces kill 58 Palestinians at Gaza border fence

The aftershocks of the US Embassy move to Jerusalem on Monday and the accompanying violence and deaths from protests are shaking up the region. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sees the embassy move as a betrayal from his former negotiating partners Israel and the US. For years, the Palestinians continued to cooperate with Israeli troops in the West Bank and in turn, the US promised not to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to keep the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office open in Washington DC.

Months of protest: Since late March, there have been weekly border protests in Gaza, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians. The violence in the region culminated this week in clashes coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem.  Salah al-Bardaweel, a Hamas official in Gaza said that all but 12 of the protesters killed this week were members of Hamas.

The Palestinian stance: For decades since the 1967 war, the Palestinian strategy has been to seek independence through negotiations. Despite continued Israeli construction of settlements, the Palestinians remained hopeful that negotiations would culminate in an independent state.

What is the Gaza Strip? Almost two million people live in the tiny, self-governing Palestinian territory. It is just 41 km (25.4 miles) long and anywhere from 6-12km wide. In May of 1994, as part of the Oslo Accords, Israel transferred power to the Palestinian Authority. The Islamist faction Hamas has governed since 2007. The World Bank says Gaza suffers from one of the “highest unemployment rates on earth.”

av/rt (Reuters, AFP)

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