GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli aircraft hit tens of thousands of militant sites across the Gaza Strip early on…
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli aircraft hit tens of thousands of militant sites across the Gaza Strip early on Saturday when soldiers shot about 30 rockets in Israel, in the heaviest exchange of fire between the bitter enemies for several weeks.
The fighter followed a bloody day of border protests, where Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians protesting around the perimeter of the Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel. The sudden outburst of battle and bloodshed complicated Egyptian mediators, who have intensified shuttle diplomacy to achieve calm and prevent a full blown conflict between the militant Hamas group and Israel.
The Israeli military said it had killed about 80 seats across Gaza at the start of Saturday morning, including a security headquarters building. Air pipes sirens sounded all night in southern Israel, with militants shooting about 30 rockets, the military said.
It is said that about 1
0 rockets were interrupted by their Iron Dome rocket defense system, two landed prematurely in Gaza and the rest fell in open areas. Israeli military chief, general secretary Gadi Eisenkot, convened an emergency meeting for the highest security officers, allowing the army without drafting.
There was no word for damage as a result of the rockets and the airstrikes.
Islamic Jihad, a minor militant group, implicitly asserted responsibility for the rocket fire. It issued a statement saying that it is usually exercising restraint, but it “can no longer be in a state of rest for the continued immortality and bloodshed of the Israeli occupation.”
It was not immediately clear whether Islamic jihad, who sometimes appears to be independent of Hamas, had coordinated rocket fire with Hamas. But Israel holds Hamas, who seized control of Gaza in 2007, responsible for all fire coming from the territory.
The pages have fought three wars in the last decade, and Israel and Egypt have maintained a suffocating blockade on the territory to weaken Hamas. Hamas-led weekly protests along the Israeli border have been largely intended to break the blockade, which has destroyed the Gaza economy.
On Friday, thousands of Palestinians gathered in five places along the border, burning tires and throwing rocks, grenades and firebombs in Israeli troops that responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.
The Israeli army said that some suspicious cards crossed the fence.
Three of the dead were reported in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Witnesses said dozens of protesters approached the fence there.
In northern Gaza, a 27-year-old man died after shooting a head in his head, the Ministry said. Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn against the destruction of Israel, had previously reduced protests, as Egypt strengthened its efforts to ensure peace.
On Wednesday, Egyptian intelligence officials met representatives of Palestinian faction in Gaza. Loay Qarouti from the popular front of the Liberation of Palestine’s General Command said that mediators asked them “to protect protesters’ lives and minimize losses among them”.
Egypt wants to restore calm to drive the broader goal of Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and the West Bank-based administration of President Mahmoud Abbas. The internationally recognized Abbas lost control of Gaza at the takeover in 2007.
But Hamas claims it wants a complete lifting of a devastating blocked Israel and Egypt imposed on Gaza to isolate the Islamic movement.
The blockade has made it harder for Hamas to rule. Widespread desperation among Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants – who only get a few hours of electricity per day and uninterruptible tap water, in addition to being affected by increasing unemployment and limited freedom of travel – burn their participation in Hamas-orchestrated protests.
Since the marches began six months ago, at least 160 Palestinians present or participating in the protests have been killed. A Gaza militant killed an Israeli soldier in July.
Israel accuses Hamas of using the great protests as protection to infiltrate and attack the borders. It says it defends its border and accuses Hamas of exploiting young protesters and encouraging them to risk their lives to increase pressure to ease the blockade.
Israel has come under strong international criticism for what many see as excessive use of violence and the vast number of unarmed people who have been shot.
In the West Bank, a 33-year-old Palestinian man and nine other wounded by living rounds were killed, one in critical conditions when the Israeli forces confronted stone throwers