Published: Fri, August 10, 2018

Gaza protests expected after deadly Israeli air raids

Gaza protests expected after deadly Israeli air raids

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, stressing that they were in retaliation for the killing of two of Palestinians by Israeli forces. Beersheba is some 40 kilometres from the Gaza Strip. A rocket was intercepted later in the evening by the Iron Dome system over the border community of Yad Mordechai.

Early Thursday afternoon a Palestinian official from the Gaza Strip declared an end to hostilities and pledged that armed factions in the Strip would maintain the peace if Israel did the same.

Israel has struck more than 150 Hamas targets since late Wednesday after the Islamist group and its allies fired some 180 rockets and mortars at the Jewish state.

The rocket fire provoked a wave of Israeli strikes across the enclave overnight that killed three Palestinians, including a toddler.

Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committee, a smaller faction in Gaza, said on his Facebook page: "Upon Egyptian and global efforts, a ceasefire between Palestinian resistance began conditional on the commitment of the occupation". Across the border rocket warning sirens sounded nearly non-stop from sunset on Wednesday in Israeli towns and villages where residents sheltered in bunkers. But at least 11 Israelis were injured after projectiles slammed into residential areas, blowing out windows and leaving cars and buildings pockmarked with shrapnel.

Most of the rockets fired by Palestinian militants landed in open areas, but at least two hit the Israeli town of Sderot and sirens sounded throughout the night.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an unnamed senior Israeli commander as saying that the military is "nearing launching an operation in the Gaza Strip" if the current situation persists. One person, Ali Algandor, 30, was killed on Wednesday, and overnight a house was struck and a 22-year-old pregnant woman was killed along with her 1-year-old daughter, Palestinian Health Ministry officials said. The ministry said the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents.

Public pressure in Israel to take more decisive military action is building. The ministry said Khammash was also pregnant.

The health ministry added that around 12 Palestinians were injured, two critically, and were transferred to the hospital for treatment.

"Bayan was sleeping with her mother and father".

The Israeli air force, meanwhile, attacked targets across Gaza.

The Israeli military said over 180 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel, and Israel carried out over 150 airstrikes targeting Hamas militant positions.

"This is a blatant crime and Israel is responsible for it", he said.

"What I can say is that we targeted by definition only military targets that were clearly used by Hamas where there was an active presence of Hamas and nothing else", he told journalists on Thursday morning.

The three flare-ups since July, which follow months of tensions due to protests and clashes along the Gaza border, have raised fears of a fourth war between the two sides since 2008.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called on the worldwide community to "immediately and urgently intervene".

Since March 30, hundreds and sometimes thousands of Palestinians have gathered.

After four hours of discussion about the escalation in the south and the hard situation in which Israelis there are living, Israel's Ministerial Committee on National Security instructed the IDF to "continue to act with force against terrorist elements".

On Wednesday night, summer camp organizers were told they could hold their activities inside "protected areas", but the army then said to cancel all camps until the rocket fire stops. One Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

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