Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Wave of Israeli strikes hit Gaza after rocket barrage, toddler killed

Wave of Israeli strikes hit Gaza after rocket barrage, toddler killed

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces - most during weekly protests at which thousands of Palestinians have expressed their support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the fresh rocket attacks into the occupied lands, saying it was avenging the deaths of two fighters killed in an Israeli tank fire in Gaza on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the deceased as 34-year-old Ali Ghandour, 23-year-old Inas Khamash, and her 18-month-old daughter, Bayan Khamash. At least five other civilians were also wounded.

The UN has warned that Gaza would be "unlivable" by 2020 if Israel's decade-old blockade of the Strip continues.

Israeli media said officials were considering evacuating residents from areas near the Gaza border. One of the jets struck a factory that was being used to produce components intended for the construction of terrorist tunnels leading into Israel, the army said.

The military said it intercepted some 25 rockets, while most of the others landed in open areas.

Israel Hayom's Yoav Limor says Hamas doesn't want war and Israel doesn't know what it wants: Ministers who met this week are mostly leaning toward a calm, despite the fact that the way there is long and complicated, and doesn't offer much more than quiet. By early Thursday morning, IDF said it struck more than 100 targets.

"The strikes were delivered in response to shooting at civil engineering equipment [at the Israeli-Palestinian border] and multiple rocket launches from the Gaza Strip targeting the Israeli territory", the IDF press service said in a statement.

According to an Israeli army spokesperson, Israeli warplanes targeted and bombed about 140 locations throughout the Gaza Strip.

It said about 150 rockets had been launched from Gaza towards Israeli territory. Red Alert sirens continued to sound in the South throughout the night, with the latest salvo fired at 05:45 am Thursday morning.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a trip to Colombia this week to attend to the Gaza truce talks and was due to convene his decision-making security cabinet on Thursday to discuss the situation. Israel, however, appears to be learning more toward a quid pro quo agreement with Hamas instead of a comprehensive cease-fire, as past resolutions have often crumbled. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

The last four months have seen an upsurge in violence along the Gaza-Israel border.

Hamas's military wing said it was behind the rocket attacks.

The United Nations, he said, has engaged with Egypt in an "unprecedented effort" to avoid serious conflict, but cautioned that "the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people". "What is required is for calm to be restored along the border between us and the Zionist enemy". He said Israel has offered only an easing, but not an end, to the blockade.

It was not clear if the escalation would derail Egyptian-brokered indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach a long-term ceasefire.

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