Israel strikes targets in Gaza Strip, 3 killed

Lester Mason
August 10, 2018

Israeli aircraft struck more than 150 targets in Gaza in response to a barrage of rockets from the Palestinian territory, its military said Thursday, marking a sharp escalation even as negotiations were taking place over a cease-fire.

A pregnant Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old child were killed in the Israeli attacks overnight on Wednesday, as was a Hamas militant, Gaza medical officials said.

A surge in cross border rocket and air strikes in recent weeks have prompted the United Nations and Egypt to try to broker a truce to prevent another one.

It did not elaborate.

Israeli Cabinet minister for construction and housing, Yoav Gallant, said that "whatever is needed to be done to defend our civilians and soldiers, will be done, no matter what would be the price in Gaza". Despite the animosity, the bitter enemies appear to be working through Egyptian mediators to avoid another war.

While Israeli officials insisted that their large-scale attack on Gaza was in response to Hamas rocket fire, Haaretz reports that it was in fact the Israeli army that sparked the escalation by killing two Palestinians with tank fire, after they allegedly mistook a training exercise for an actual attack.

In the first incident of its kind since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, a rocket launched from Gaza reached the outskirts of Beersheva on Thursday.

Israeli air forces pounded the Gaza Strip overnight, targeting over 100 sites in the besieged coastal enclave.

A Palestinian rocket struck the southern city of Beersheba late in the afternoon, landing in an open area. Israeli jets hit Gaza, again, flattening what Palestinians called a cultural center in the al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. The airstrike set off a powerful explosion and sent a huge plume of black smoke into the air, causing crowds to scream in panic. Local health officials said 18 bystanders were wounded outside of the building by the blast.

"I do not think that any of the other players have any appetite to raise the tensions on their front".

Residents said the building had served mainly as a cultural centre.

"Hamas must go back to the understandings after the [2014 Gaza war], and if it doesn't, it will understand the hard way", Haaretz quoted the officer as saying. In the absence of a deal, Israel was able to target "valuable" Hamas military targets in Gaza, the official said. The ministry said the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents.

"We only slept an hour", said Naomi Zolberg, 34, a resident of the Israeli city of Sderot who said four projectiles hit very close to her home on Wednesday evening as she was inside with two of her children. The mother and daughter died immediately and the father is in critical condition, Kamal told the AP.

The Israeli army said they held Hamas "fully responsible" for the escalation in violence, and that it was "determined to secure the safety of Israelis, is on high alert, & prepared for a variety of scenarios".

Israelis stand and inspect surrounding damages outside the cordoned area where a rocket fired by militants from the Gaza Strip fell and created a small crater in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on 9 August 2018.

Israel's Iron Dome defense system intercepted more than 30 rockets, and others landed in open areas in southern Israel, said the IDF.

"If the current escalation, however, is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people", he said in a statement. The protests have been aimed in part at trying to break the blockade.

As Israel was striking a Hamas headquarters in Gaza, the cabinet convened at 6 IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. The military said more than 180 rockets and mortar bombs were fired from Gaza. "A significant part of the unit's members are also Hamas military operatives".

The incident occurred while a group of senior Hamas leaders from overseas were visiting Gaza to discuss the ceases-fire efforts with local leaders.

On the Israeli side, at least seven people were wounded.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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