Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations
GAZA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Israeli warplanes carried out several raids in Gaza Strip early Thursday, a day before an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire expires, witnesses and security sources said.
The Israeli strikes followed a Palestinian rocket attack late Wednesday at southern Israeli town Sderot, lightly hurting three Israelis. In the meantime, a Palestinian civilian was killed when an Israeli missile hit his house.
On Thursday morning, an Israeli fighter jet dropped a bomb on a metal workshop in southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, destroying the structure. A second air raid, at the same time, also targeted a similar blacksmith shop in Jabaliya, a refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip.
Also in Jabaliya, the Israeli jet fired a missile at a house belonging to a Hamas suicide bomber who blew himself up near an Israeli checkpoint in Gaza in 2001. The house sustained heavy damage, according to the witnesses.
Late on Wednesday, Salah Okal, 44, a Palestinian resident of Jabaliya, was killed when a missile landed on his house. Israel said the airstrike was aimed at a Palestinian rocket squad that was launching rockets near the house.
The ceasefire was violated several times in recent weeks with Israel tightening Gaza closure and the armed Palestinian groups firing rockets at Israeli border towns.
The Gaza factions, led by Hamas, have ruled out the possibility of renewing the ceasefire.