Published: Wed, June 20, 2018

Gaza militants fire barrage of rockets at Israel overnight

Gaza militants fire barrage of rockets at Israel overnight

"We struck at a greater intensity, with the intended message for Hamas to understand that we will not allow this situation to continue", spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

Israel has carried out air raids in the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks, saying it was retaliating for Palestinians setting fire to Israeli land.

Three Palestinians were lightly injured during the strikes in the early hours of Wednesday, residents said.

"The Hamas terror organization targeted Israeli civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket attack and is dragging the Gaza Strip and its civilians down a continually deteriorating path", the military said.

Alongside the launching of fire-kites, weekly Gaza protests have been characterized by stone-throwing at Israeli soldiers, laying of explosive devices on the security fence and mass attempts to breach the border. Its Iron Dome missile defence system intercepted four rockets, it added, while an unspecified numbers of them fell into Israeli territory.

"Most if not all of those spent the night in bomb shelters", he said.

Israel has been battling large fires caused by kites and balloons rigged with incendiary devices or burning rags, launched by Palestinians in Gaza that have destroyed forests, burned crops and killed wildlife and livestock.

They were demonstrating in support of what Palestinians say is the right of refugees and their descendants to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other global stakeholders have warned that Gaza is close to the brink of war. Fighter jets targeted about 25 Hamas targets overnight in response to the heavy Palestinian fire, it said.

This was the second instance of rocket fire along the border in two weeks, after three rockets fired at Israel on Monday broke an implicit ceasefire that followed a sudden conflagration in late May. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars with Israel.

The move sparked anger across the Arab world and prompted Palestinians to freeze all contacts with United States officials.

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