Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Israel and Hamas agree on truce after deadly flare-up, officials say

Israel strikes more than 150 targets in Gaza in response to barrage of rockets Israel Hammers Gaza After 200 Rockets Hit Israel
Deanna Wagner | 10 August, 2018, 16:24

The LA Times' print headline also clearly laid out the chain of events: "Hamas fires 70 rockets at Israel; Nation retaliates with airstrikes in Gaza, and 200,000 civilians are ordered to shelters".

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.

Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus insisted Israel only targeted Hamas military targets in Gaza. The airstrike set off a powerful explosion and sent a huge plume of black smoke into the air, causing crowds to scream in panic.

In the first incident of its kind since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, a rocket launched from Gaza reached the outskirts of Beersheva on Thursday.

"As we approach a potential agreement, it's extremely important for Hamas to deliver the message that we are not going there because we are weak", said Yossi Kuperwasser, a retired brigadier general and the former director general of Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

According to the IDF statement, the building served Hamas to manage internal security throughout the Gaza Strip and some of the unit's personnel were also active in the terrorist organization's military wing.

The health ministry added that around 12 Palestinians were injured, two critically, and were transferred to the hospital for treatment.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special envoy who is involved in Egyptian efforts to broker a truce, said in a statement on Thursday that he's "deeply alarmed" by "multiple rockets fired toward communities in southern Israel" the day before.

In this week's fighting, the Palestinian health ministry said three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her one-year-old daughter, and a Hamas militant, were killed in separate airstrikes.

As Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, put it, the "current Israeli bombardment sequence in Gaza started when the Israeli military killed two Palestinians, lied about why, and later admitted to doing so just as a high level Palestinian delegation was on its way to Cairo to discuss longer term cease-fire".

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However, Manchester United were put off by the excessive demands made by the player's agents, which ultimately resulted in them pulling the plug on the move .

The Israeli strike later Thursday, after the rocket landed near Beersheba, hit a building that Palestinians say housed a cultural centre and other offices in the middle of the city.

In a statement, Hamas added that they hold Israel responsible for the latest escalation and called for global intervention "to prevent the rapid escalation on the ground".

Public pressure in Israel to take more decisive military action is building. "In response, the IDF targeted over 150 terror targets in the Gaza Strip", the IDF said on Twitter.

"Bayan was sleeping with her mother and father". Some rockets landed in the communities, and many others were shot down by the Iron Dome, which is created to intercept only rockets headed towards population centers.

The escalation of the conflict in the last 24 hours comes as Egypt attempts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the global community to "immediately and urgently intervene".

Protests and clashes along the Gaza border began on March 30.

Rocket warning sirens sounded nearly non-stop in the southern Israeli towns and border communities near Gaza from sunset on Wednesday.

After a sleepless night for residents of Gaza and nearby Israeli communities on Wednesday, there was little respite on Thursday morning.