Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

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

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

More than a dozen Israelis were hurt Wednesday night as Gaza's ruling Hamas terrorist organization launched a massive, evening-long rocket attack on southern Israel.

United Nations officials have however called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas where 80 percent of the two million population are dependent on aid.

Israel's military on Thursday warned Hamas against a further escalation in violence, and Israeli media said officials were considering evacuating residents from areas near the Gaza border.

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".

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"Hamas hit the "enemy" with a large number of rockets", it said. At least five other civilians in Gaza were also injured.

In Gaza, one Hamas militant was killed in the air strikes, as was a Palestinian woman and her 18 month old child, Palestinian officials said. Twenty-four of the slain protesters were minors, the ministry has said.

Air raid sirens sounded nearly nonstop in southern Israel from sundown on Wednesday, warning residents to stay in shelters as more than 80 rockets were fired in their direction.

In a statement, the army claimed that its tanks hit a Hamas position in eastern Gaza in response to earlier gunfire from the strip targeting Israeli construction vehicles.

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Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, in a news release called Israel's restriction of fuel imports "a risky practice, with grave consequences on the rights of people in Gaza".

They also demand an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

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. The IDF later suggested the incident was a misunderstanding, as the tank returned fire in response to the shots fired as part of a ceremony of the al-Qassam Brigades, which were not deliberately aimed at Israeli soldiers, Haaretz reported.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

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The push for a long-term ceasefire agreement follows months of clashes between Israel and Hamas, marked by a surge in cross-border arson attacks, rocket fire, and violent clashes which brought the sides to the brink of a full-scale war in two separate military flare-ups in July.

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