Israel Launches Airstrike on Gaza after Rocket Attack
Explosion and smoke are seen during Israel-Gaza fighting in November 2012 - Reuters

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have launched an air strike on the northern region of the Gaza Strip in response to recent rocket fire.

Israeli planes have begun targeting what are believed to be clandestine rocket launching sites in the restive Gaza region, and direct hits have been confirmed.

"The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and security forces and will continue to act against anyone initiating terror against the state of Israel," the IDF said in a statement.

The military said two rockets were fired from Gaza, aimed at the Israeli city of Sderot, but no injuries or damage has been reported as a result of the attack. One of the rockets is said to have landed in an open field while another actually landed inside Gaza.

The Israeli forces added: "The IDF air strikes were conducted in response to the rockets launched at the civilians living in the Sha'ar HaNegev regional council yesterday [13 August, Tuesday] evening."

The IDF accused Hamas, the militant outfit which governs the Gaza Strip, of carrying out the attack - which comes hours after Israel's Iron Dome intercepted a rocket from the Sinai region fired by al-Qaida-linked militants.

The assault took place at a time when Israel has released 26 Palestinian prisoners ahead of peace negotiations. As many as 15 of the prisoners are Gaza-bound.