Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | ePaper

Wave of Israeli strikes hit Gaza after rocket barrage, 3 killed

  • Print


A Palestinian man inspects a Hamas site that was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Al-Mughraqa on the outskirts of Gaza City on Thursday.

AFP, Gaza City :
Israel carried out a wave of strikes across Gaza on Thursday in response to some 180 rockets and mortars fired at its territory, killing three Palestinians including a toddler in another severe flare-up of violence.
It was the third major escalation since July and came despite attempts by UN officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.
Beginning on Wednesday night and into Thursday, fireballs and explosions shook the Gaza Strip while plumes of smoke rose from the enclave.
In nearby Israeli communities, residents were sent scrambling to bomb shelters.
Most of the rockets fired by Palestinian militants landed in open areas, but at least two hit the Israeli town of Sderot near the Gaza Strip and sirens sounded throughout the night and into the morning.
Medics reported at least four wounded taken to Israeli hospitals, including a 30-year-old Thai woman in moderate to severe condition after being injured in the Eshkol region bordering the Gaza Strip.
Israel's military reported seven civilians wounded. Those killed in the Gaza Strip included Enas Khammash, 23, and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave.
They were killed in an air strike in Jafarawi in central Gaza, the ministry said, while her husband was injured. The ministry said Khammash was also pregnant.
A Hamas militant was also killed in the strikes and at least 12 others injured, the health ministry said.
Rockets and mortars targeting Israel continued sporadically on Thursday morning as did Israeli strikes in parts of the Gaza Strip.
"I rented this house to civilians and I'm surprised that this house was bombed," said Abdul al-Hakeem Abu Amra, the owner of the house where the woman and child were killed.
In Sderot, the Israeli city near the Gaza Strip, a gaping hole could be seen in front of a small, three-storey building. A car parked nearby was smashed.
"I will never leave, never," said Hagit Shetreet, 45, who had to run to a shelter due to the rocket fire. Israel's army said it targeted more than 150 Hamas military locations, including militant compounds and weapons manufacturing sites.
Military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said he had no information on the woman and child being killed, but noted a pregnant Israeli woman was taken to hospital Wednesday night after a rocket landed nearby.
"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.
The military said Israel was targeted with around 180 rockets and mortars from late Wednesday into Thursday. Thirty of them were intercepted by air defence systems, according to the army.
The military said it was "determined to secure the safety of the citizens of Israel and is on high alert and prepared for a wide variety of scenarios."
A statement from the military wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets.
It said the Palestinian "resistance" had fired a large number of rockets at "enemy positions in the Gaza envelope".
·    'Deeply alarmed' -

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.
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN envoy for the Middle East conflict who has been seeking to negotiate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, said he was "deeply alarmed."
"For months I have been warning that the humanitarian, security and political crisis in Gaza risks a devastating conflict that nobody wants," he said in a statement.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called on the international community to "immediately and urgently intervene."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was convening a meeting of his security cabinet.
The flare-up that began Wednesday night followed an incident the previous day.
In that incident, two fighters from Hamas's military wing were killed by Israeli fire along the border.
Israel initially said the two fighters were shooting at Israeli soldiers, but Hamas said they were involved in a training exercise that senior officials were attending.
Israeli media reported that army officials later acknowledged a mistake had been made and the militants had not been firing at soldiers, though the military would not confirm that information to AFP.
Hamas warned Israel it would pay for the attack, and on Wednesday the army said shots were fired at civilian engineers working on an underground barrier along the border, prompting the military to respond with tank fire.
That was followed by the rockets and then the Israeli strikes.

More News For this Category

Pakistan PM urges talks on Kashmir blast, warns India against attack

Pakistan PM urges talks on Kashmir blast, warns India against attack

Reuters, Islamabad :Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday Pakistan was ready to cooperate with India in its investigation of a deadly bombing in the disputed Kashmir region last

Japan trial to treat spinal cord injuries with stem cells

Japan trial to treat spinal cord injuries with stem cells

AFP, Tokyo :The health ministry approved Monday the world's first clinical test in which artificially derived stem cells will be used to treat patients with spinal cord injuries.A team

IS defends final pocket of dying 'caliphate' in Syria

IS defends final pocket of dying 'caliphate' in Syria

AFP, Baghouz (Syria) :Islamic State group jihadists were defending the last pocket of their "caliphate" in Syria on Monday, as EU foreign ministers meet to discuss the crisis after

Australia says 'state actor' hacked parties, parliament

Australia says 'state actor' hacked parties, parliament

AFP, Sydney :Australia on Monday said a "sophisticated state actor" had hacked the country's main political parties and parliament, just weeks before a closely fought election.Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Russia pioneering return of 'ISIS children'

Russia pioneering return of 'ISIS children'

AFP, Moscow :As the end nears for the IS enclave in Syria and the fate of jihadists' family members becomes a prescient issue, Russia can be seen as a

`Crime may have been committed` by Trump: Ex-FBI official

`Crime may have been committed` by Trump: Ex-FBI official

AP, Washington :Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head

News In Brief

Center-right to top EU poll; far-right surges: SurveyReuters, Brussels The center-right is set to remain the biggest group in the EU legislature after elections in May that should also show

Trump calls on Europe to take back IS fighters captured in Syria

Trump calls on Europe to take back IS fighters captured in Syria

AFP, Washington :European nations must take back hundreds of Islamic State group fighters captured in Syria, President Donald Trump said late Saturday, after a delay in announcing what he

Japan PM nominated Trump for Nobel after US request

Japan PM nominated Trump for Nobel after US request

AFP, Tokyo :Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after being requested to do so by Washington, a Japanese

Hundreds stranded as British airline Flybmi collapses

Hundreds stranded as British airline Flybmi collapses

AP, London :Hundreds of passengers throughout Europe have been stranded by the abrupt collapse of the British regional airline Flybmi.British Midland Regional Limited, which operates as Flybmi, said it's