Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Gaza rocket hits Israeli city, prompting Israeli air strikes in retaliation

Trump envoy Greenblatt calls for unifying Gaza-PA but plan may be dead in the water Gaza rocket hits Israeli city, prompting Israeli air strikes in retaliation
Melinda Barton | 17 October, 2018, 19:59

"At 4am, Israelis in the city of Beersheba were running to bomb shelters after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel", the Israeli army tweeted, before the air strikes on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

One 25-year-old Palestinian militant was killed and three others were wounded in the Gaza strikes.

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.

Lieberman ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and the Erez crossing for people, and the reduction of the permitted fishing zone along the Gaza coast to three nautical miles, the defense ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, COGAT, said.

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.

On Tuesday, Liberman said he would urge the Cabinet to approve a "serious blow" against Gaza, claiming it was the only way to restore calm in the area. The blockade has restricted Hamas' ability to govern and made life extremely hard for Gaza's 2 million residents.

Last week, some 14,000 Palestinians rushed the border fence, burning tires and throwing rocks, firebombs and grenades at soldiers stationed on the other side of the barrier.

With a nod to the Egyptian talks, Hamas and other major militant groups in Gaza took the unusual step of denying responsibility for Wednesday's launchings, saying they rejected "all irresponsible attempts to sabotage the Egyptian effort, including the firing of the rockets".

Earlier, Conricus told CBN News that Hamas is trying to involve the worldwide community by getting Israel to kill Palestinians. "We need to kill terrorists who want to kill us", Bennett said on Monday.

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.

One Israeli soldier has been killed by Hamas sniper fire in that time.

Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu told his ministers on Sunday that if Hamas doesn't come to its senses "they will be stopped in a different way".

At least 205 Palestinians have been killed since protests and clashes erupted along the border in late March, with at least 50 of those killed identified as members of Hamas.

Hamas seeks a cease-fire with Israel to secure an easing of the blockade but accuses its West Bank rivals, Fatah, of thwarting the effort.

In Israel, the fiery threats against Hamas have been coupled with concern over being dragged into an unnecessary escalation that may have more to do with Palestinian infighting.