The Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, said early Wednesday that its fighters have managed to hit an Israeli F-16 warplane over the Gaza Strip.
“Our air defense unit managed at 19:40 local time [16:40 GMT] to target and hit an [Israeli] F-16 with a surface-to-air missile over Deir al-Balah city in central Gaza, as the plane was preparing to strike a target,” the brigades said in a brief statement.
The statement gave no further details, and the Israeli army is yet to comment.
Meanwhile, an Israeli policeman was injured on Tuesday during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli police said.
According to the police, the injured policeman was hit by a stone and was moved to hospital with slight wounds.
Clashes were reported in several areas across the holy city, including Shuafat, Isawiya, and Jabal Mukabbir districts, the police said.
The Palestinian protesters hurled stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at the police troops, leaving a police vehicle damaged, the police added.
The brigades in earlier statements had announced that it shot down three Israeli drones in separate incidents over Gaza since the Israeli army commenced a wide-scale military operation against the Palestinian enclave earlier this month.
Since July 7, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with fierce aerial bombardments with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire.
At least 635 Palestinians have been killed – mostly civilians – and more than 4000 others injured in Israel's ongoing offensive, now in its third week.
According to official Israeli figures, 28 Israeli soldiers and two civilians have been killed since the hostilities began.
By Mustafa Haboosh
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