Israel and Hamas Clash Again, Threatening Peace Talks
09 August, 2018, 17:44 | Author: Sheila Harris
Over 70 rockets were fired towards Israel from Gaza on Wednesday, eleven of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israeli military said, announcing retaliatory strikes against Hamas targets.
A senior Israeli military official said Thursday that the army is "nearing war with Gaza" and would evacuate Israelis living in communities adjacent to the border if necessary, following a major conflagration that saw over 150 rockets fired at southern Israel.
A video has been circulating on social media that captures the terror that Israelis endure when Hamas launches rockets at them.
Rocket warning sirens sounded nearly non-stop in the southern Israeli town of Sderot and other border communities from sunset on Wednesday.
Israel's military says it struck several Hamas targets in Gaza.
A Hamas militant was also killed in one of the strikes, while at least 12 people in Gaza were reportedly injured, health officials said.
Following May's rocket attacks, Israel and Gaza eventually reached an uneasy ceasefire mediated by Egypt, though rocket launches and airstrike retaliation has continued to plague both sides.
Israel's military said it targeted more than 140 Hamas "military sites", including military compounds and weapons manufacturing sites for the militant movement.
It said about 150 rockets had been launched from Gaza towards Israeli territory.
A top Hamas official told The Associated Press that the group waited for the delegation to leave Gaza before responding with rocket fire late Wednesday.
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The UN has warned that Gaza would be "unlivable" by 2020 if Israel's decade-old blockade of the Strip continues.
Three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her toddler daughter, were killed and 11 others were injured in Israel's retaliatory strikes in Gaza, the enclave's Hamas-run health ministry said in a statement. At least five other civilians were also wounded. Israeli television broadcast images of a house and cars damaged by the rockets in Sderot.
The escalation comes after the Hamas leadership convened for a rare meeting in Gaza on Friday.
Israel has not commented on the reported casualties in Gaza yet.
"Whatever is needed to protect our citizens and our soldiers will be done, no matter what the price will be in Gaza", Housing Minister Yoav Gallant, who serves on the security cabinet, said Thursday.
"Hamas is making serious mistakes, and we may have to make it clear after four years that this path doesn't yield any results for it and isn't worth it", he said, referring to the time elapsed since the 2014 Gaza war.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that mounting violence began on Wednesday after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007.
Gaza's residents have been protesting every week since 30 March at Israel's border fence, which have been violently suppressed.
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