*UPDATES WITH ISRAELI ARMY STATEMENT
By Nour Abu Aisha and Hani al-Shaer
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – A Palestinian man was martyred in a fresh Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
In a statement, the ministry identified the victim as Naji al-Zaanin, 25, in the attack that targeted the northern city of Beit Lahia.
The Israeli military confirmed the airstrike, saying it targeted a group of Palestinians trying to fire rockets into Israeli territory.
Early Wednesday, the Israeli army carried out a series of airstrikes in Gaza in response to rocket fire, injuring three people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The Israeli military said on Twitter it started attacking targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire into the city of Be’er Sheva.
In a statement, the military said it bombed 20 targets throughout Gaza, including an underground tunnel, going on to hold Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, for the escalation.
“There are only two organizations in Gaza that have this caliber of rocket: Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” said military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. “It’s not hard to narrow down who’s behind it.”
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also announced on Wednesday that all crossings into Gaza were being shut and the fishing zone around the Palestinian territory was being limited.
Since March, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire in anti-occupation protests along Gaza border.
Demonstrators demand an end to Israel’s 12-year Gaza blockade and the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.