A picture taken on November 29, 2017, shows smoke billowing in Gaza City after Israel's military targeted Hamas posts in Gaza in retaliation to mortar rounds fired from the Palestinian enclave. (AFP PHOTO)
JERUSALEM, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military said it launched a second airstrike against "terror infrastructure" in the Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, accusing the Palestinian Islamic Jihad of carrying out a mortar attack earlier on the same day.
The flare-up came after Gaza militants shelled mortars towards a military post next to separation fence between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday's noon. The fire caused a minor damage and no injuries, according to the military.
Israel later accused the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad of carrying out the attack. In response, the military launched a combined artillery and airstrike, targeting two Islamic Jihad posts and two Hamas posts, according to a military statement.
A few hours later, a second airstrike was launched, in which an Israeli aircraft targeted two additional military posts belonging to the Islamic Jihad in the central Gaza Strip, the statement said.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, Dr. Ashraf al-Qidre, told Palestinian media that two people were lightly wounded by Israeli bombing.
The Jihad said the mortar barrage was a retaliation of a killing of a Palestinian farmer earlier on Thursday. The 48-year-old villager was shot dead by a settler in disputed circumstances.
Israel's military said the settler shot him in self-defense as a group of settlers were attacked by stone throwers and Palestinian eyewitnesses say the man was working his land during the shooting.
The outburst of violence comes a month after Israel bombed a tunnel crossing from Gaza to Israel, killing at least a dozen of Islamic Jihad militants.
The Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed Palestinian group, has vowed to avenge the killing.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened then to "take a very firm stance against anyone who tries to attack us."
The escalation comes at a sensitive time, as the rival Fatah and Hamas, an Islamist movement that runs Gaza, are working on the implementation of a reconciliation historic deal. Israel objects the deal.
Israel's last massive offensive in the Gaza Strip was concluded 2014. Since then, sporadic fire incidents occur on both sides of the border but have never evolved into a full-blown war.