JERUSALEM — Israeli aircraft attacked two suspected weapons-making factories and a smuggling tunnel in the Gaza Strip early Sunday in what the military said was retaliation for Palestinian rocket fired into southern Israel.
The air strikes, which wounded at least seven, came despite an announcement by Gaza's Hamas rulers that the territory's military factions had all agreed to stop firing rockets. The Hamas announcement came late Saturday, after the rocket attack.
Hamas' interior minister, Fathi Hamad, said the proclaimed halt in rocket fire was designed to prevent Israeli retaliation and provide stability for Gaza, which continues to suffer from the aftermath of a massive Israeli offensive in December and January.
The offensive killed about 1,400 Palestinians, according to U.N. and Palestinian estimates, and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes. Thirteen Israelis also were killed. Most of the damage in Gaza has not been repaired due to an Israeli blockade that has prevented construction materials from entering the territory.
Israel said it launched the offensive to crush Palestinian rocket squads, who had severely disrupted life in southern Israel for years. While Hamas has all but halted its own rocket fire, smaller militant groups have continued to launch attacks, though the number of attacks has decreased dramatically.
On Sunday, Islamic Jihad, a smaller faction responsible for much of the rocket fire, said there is "no formal truce," but confirmed it would temporarily stop its attacks.
An end to Palestinian rocket attacks could lead toward a broader prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas. The Iranian-backed Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who was captured by Hamas-allied militants more than three years ago.