Friday, 17 August, 2018

Israeli leaders plot response as Gaza violence rages

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman meet with top seucirty officials at IDF military's headquarters in Tel Aviv early Thursday The Latest: Israel strikes targets in Gaza Strip, 3 killed
Pablo Mccormick | 10 August, 2018, 07:40

Israeli warplanes hit struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there, while Palestinian militants from the territory fired scores of rockets into Israel in a fierce burst of violence overnight.

The Said Meshal Cultural Centre confirmed on its Facebook page the offices in Gaza City had been destroyed, saying the building also hosted offices for the Egyptian community in Gaza.

"The strike was carried out in response to the rockets fired by Hamas at Israel, one of which was sacked at the city of Be'er Sheva, which is more than 24 miles from Gaza", the IDF Spokesperson added.

Hours earlier, after the long-range Palestinian missile attack - the first of its kind since a 2014 war, Israeli air strikes had resumed after a short lull, flattening a multi-storey building that the Israeli military described as a Hamas headquarters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the security cabinet on Thursday evening to discuss the violence in the south, as IDF jets flattened a five-story building in the Gaza Strip it said served as a headquarters for Hamas's internal security service.

Militants in the strip fired more than 180 rockets and mortars into Israel within 24 hours, the Israeli military said.

More sirens rang out in southern Israel on Thursday night and there were reports in the Israeli media of at least two rockets landing in open areas.

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"We have to hit the terrorists hard and bring back our routine to our own lives", he said, addressing ministers in the security cabinet, the Times of Israel reported. Medical officials said at least seven bystanders were wounded. The ministry said Khammash was also pregnant.

"As we approach a potential agreement, it's extremely important for Hamas to deliver the message that we are not going there because we are weak", said Yossi Kuperwasser, a retired brigadier general and the former director general of Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

It said the Palestinian "resistance" had fired a large number of rockets at "enemy positions in the Gaza envelope".

According to the IDF Spokesperson, the interior security unit of Hamas is "responsible for all security operations carried out inside Gaza, and is considered to be an executive branch of Hamas' political leadership". Hamas militants responded with a cross-border fusillade that sent Israelis scrambling for air raid shelters. "The UN has engaged with Egypt and all concerned parties in an unprecedented effort to avoid such a development", he said.

Neither Greenblatt, the foreign ministry, nor the army made any mention of the killing of Inas Khimash and her daughter Bayan. "The rocket hit their house and smashed it, you can see the damage", said Abdullah Khammash, 31, a cousin of the woman and child killed.

Palestinians gather around a building after it was bombed by an Israeli aircraft, in Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018. A auto parked nearby was smashed.

According to Haaretz, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) intentionally targeted civilians "with the goal of causing the residents to understand the price of escalation and placing Hamas in a problematic situation".

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"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.

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

The flare-up came as Egypt continued efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire between the two sides.

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

They also demand an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

After a sleepless night for residents of Gaza and nearby Israeli communities on Wednesday, there was little respite on Thursday morning.

Nofal claimed that this is one of the reasons why "the Palestinian people have emerged victorious in all battles".

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