New Israeli strike in Gaza City wounds 18: ministry

Blanche Robertson
August 10, 2018

He said Egypt would continue efforts to broker a long-term ceasefire. Medical officials said at least seven bystanders were wounded.

Israeli and Hamas officials both threatened a further intensification of hostilities. The U.N.'s Mideast envoy appealed for calm.

The building was not publicly known to include facilities for Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas.

The strike came after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit an open area deep inside Israel near the major city of Beersheba, causing no damage or injuries.

Israel's latest bombing campaign in Gaza comes just weeks after Israeli F-16s carried out "wide-scale" airstrikes throughout the occupied territory. Despite the animosity, the bitter enemies appear to be working through Egyptian mediators to avoid another war.

While Israeli officials insisted that their large-scale attack on Gaza was in response to Hamas rocket fire, Haaretz reports that it was in fact the Israeli army that sparked the escalation by killing two Palestinians with tank fire, after they allegedly mistook a training exercise for an actual attack. He said the destruction of the Egyptian cultural office was "an Israeli attempt to sabotage" the Egyptian cease-fire efforts.

The incident occurred while a group of senior Hamas leaders from overseas were visiting Gaza to discuss the ceases-fire efforts with local leaders.

After the BBC published a headline that read, "Israeli air strikes "kill woman and a toddler, '" the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a formal complaint to the British outlet, and it ultimately changed the headline to, "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child" after rockets hit Israel".

Gaza's Health Ministry identified those killed in the airstrikes from Wednesday to Thursday as Hamas fighter Ali Ghandour, 23-year-old Enas Khamash and her daughter Bayan. The ministry said the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents. The mother and daughter died immediately and the father is in critical condition, Kamal told the AP. "We condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence", she said.

The building is home to a popular theatre and exhibits plays and other shows on a daily basis.

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"We have to hit the terrorists hard and bring back our routine to our own lives", he said, addressing ministers in the security cabinet, the Times of Israel reported.

Conricus wouldn't comment on Israeli media reports of troops preparing for a possible ground operation, but said Israel "had ground troops that are ready to deploy. We are reinforcing the southern command and Gaza division".

In a statement Thursday morning, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said he was "deeply alarmed" by the flare-up.

The Gaza Strip, home to almost two million Palestinians, has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007. Air raid sirens wailed in southern Israel overnight and throughout the day, sending families scrambling into bomb shelters, cancelling outdoor summer cultural events and forcing summer camps indoors.

The Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing classified negotiations, said that cease-fire talks were in their final stage but that disagreements remained. He said Hamas is demanding the complete lifting of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, while Israel has offered only to ease the restrictions.

In a statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for the global community to step in, blaming Israel for "the escalation on our people in the Gaza Strip". The protests have been aimed in part at trying to break the blockade.

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".

The worldwide media will highlight the fact that Israelis can flee while the Palestinians in Gaza remained under fire.

A magnitude 7.0 quake struck at a depth of 33km about 154km south-southwest of Puerto Triunfo in El Salvador.

The army's rhetoric has been echoed by Israeli politicians and government bodies over the course of Thursday, with the Foreign Ministry saying that Israel was "defending itself from from Hamas' aggression". But it has come under heavy global criticism for its frequent use of force against unarmed protesters.

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