IDF strikes Gaza targets after rocket fire hits home in Beersheba
17 October, 2018, 19:56 | Author: Sheila Harris
One Palestinian was killed after Israeli jets struck targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday following a rocket fired from thr enclave struck a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
"At 4:00 AM (0100 GMT) Israelis in the city of Be'er Sheva were running to bomb shelters after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel", the Israeli army tweeted.
The rocket fire comes after months of violent Palestinian protests on the Gaza border, sparking deadly gunfire from Israeli troops and fears of an all-out conflict between Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars since 2008.
"That's the only way to lower the level of violence to zero or close to zero", Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman as saying on Tuesday, after Israeli forces shot at a group of Palestinians allegedly trying to send incendiary balloons into Israeli neighbourhoods near Gaza that morning. Lieberman announced Wednesday that all crossings into Gaza were being shut in response to the attack and the fishing zone around Gaza was being limited.
A woman and her three children lived in the residential home in Beersheba that was struck by the rocket.
"A launch [of a rocket] from the Gaza Strip aimed at hitting the Israeli territory has been registered", the statement said.
Following the rocket attack, schools were closed in Beersheba and in the communities immediately surrounding the Gaza Strip and residents of the Gaza periphery were barred from holding gatherings of more than 300 people outdoors and 500 people indoors.
The rocket was the first to hit an Israeli home since the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.
It was unclear who fired the projectiles but the Israeli army says it holds Hamas accountable for what is happening in the territory under its control and commonly retaliates against them after such incidents.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a devastating response to the continuing border crisis during a weekend cabinet meeting.
The military said another rocket from Gaza landed in the sea, just off the coast of one of the larger cities in central Israel. "If it has sense, Hamas will stop firing and stop these violent disturbances - now", he said.
Since protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 205 Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave.
Lieberman said Hamas ramped up violence along the border following a humanitarian move by Israel to deliver Qatari-funded fuel for Gaza's only power plant.
Seven were killed and hundreds injured during the most recent protests on Friday, with Lieberman later suspending fuel supplies to the already energy-starved Gaza Strip.
A senior Egyptian delegation has been holding talks with Hamas in Gaza since Tuesday on a ceasefire with Israel and ways to end 11 years of division with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in the occupied West Bank.
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