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Israel retaliates to Gaza rocket attack after Independence Day celebrations, no injuries


JERUSALEM — Palestinian militants fired a rocket from Gaza that exploded in Israel whose military later retaliated by shelling a base used by the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules the coastal territory, officials said Thursday.

The Gaza rocket exploded inside Israel without causing injuries or damage Thursday night as Independence Day celebrations for the country's 67th anniversary were winding down.

The Israeli military said it was the first rocket fired at Israel from Gaza this year.

Soon afterward Hamas officials in Gaza said Israeli forces fired two shells at a base its militants use for training. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said there were no injuries.

Gaza militants have fired thousands of rockets at Israel over the years. However, rocket fire has mostly stopped since the war last summer between Israel and Hamas militants.

The military said the last time a rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel was in December.

Sirens wailed warning of incoming rockets in Sderot and other Israel communities bordering Gaza Thursday evening.

Residents said they heard sounds of explosions and soldiers searched for rocket fragments into the night.

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