Monday, 20 August, 2018

Hamas fighter killed as Israel strikes Gaza after rockets fired from enclave

A Military Police car blocks a road leading to Zikim beach after it was closed to visitors due to escalating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel Swedish activists sent home after being arrested by Israel
Melinda Barton | 09 August, 2018, 08:09

Earlier in the day, the Israeli army shelled a Hamas military position in Gaza in retaliation for an alleged attack from the Palestinian side that targeted its heavy equipment on the Gaza-Israeli border.

Smoke plumes could be seen rising from Gaza City following the Israeli raids on Wednesday night.

At the same time Israeli aircraft struck 140 targets belonging to the Hamas Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

However, earlier in the evening, at least two Israelis were injured as a result of rockets that landed in Sderot.

Gaza health ministry said two of the victims were a pregnant Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old child, another victim was a Palestinian man.

Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force at the protests, but the military said they only opened fire in self-defence or on people trying to infiltrate its territory.

"I am deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today's multiple rockets fired toward communities in southern Israel", said U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov in an overnight statement.

The area where the rockets fell have been closed off by the police as bomb disposal units were called to the scene.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that as part of the deal, which was brokered by Egypt and the United Nations with input from Turkey and Qatar, Hamas and Israel would initially observe a two-week trial cease-fire.

A video has been circulating on social media that captures the terror that Israelis endure when Hamas launches rockets at them.

In another separate incident on Wednesday, IDF said that "terrorists fired shots at civilians" engaged in the construction of the barrier along the security fence near the northern Gaza Strip and that an engineering vehicle was hit.

Israel's military later confirmed it struck Gaza, saying it hit 12 Hamas sites in all, including "an offensive maritime terror tunnel. several terror sites in military compounds throughout the Gaza Strip. rocket manufacturing facilities and a central logistical military complex".

Meanwhile, Israeli firefighters battled two fires caused by gas balloons that exploded when the homes were hit by rocket fire.

One Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.