Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Israel hits dozens of Gaza targets after mortar barrage

Israel hits dozens of Gaza targets after mortar barrage

Israel said it has acted against militants who used the mass gatherings as cover to attack troops and try to infiltrate Israeli territory.

Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a professor of political science at Gaza's al-Azhar University, chalked up the renewal of hostilities to dissatisfaction among Hamas and Islamic Jihad over the current situation, which has included continued Israeli shelling.

Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, said Egyptian mediators intervened "after the resistance succeeded in warding off the aggression".

Israel's military has said it was not seeking an escalation, but warned Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, to rein in its fighters.

"It could be that the other side is not interested in escalation", said Bennett, adding that Israel will not be the ones to cause the situation to deteriorate. Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip must be defeated. Three Israeli soldiers were wounded in the exchange of fire.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have claimed Tuesday's attacks, while the worldwide community has called on the groups to cease firing projectiles immediately. Israel said most were intercepted by its air defense systems.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the country's army would "respond to these attacks powerfully". Explosions shook the impoverished territory, which has been blockaded by Israel for more than a decade, and smoke rose from areas hit.

Hamas had largely abided by an Egyptian-brokered truce that ended the seven-week Gaza war four years ago.

Tel Aviv said about 70 rockets and mortars had been fired at Israel throughout the day. The Israeli military said some of the mortar rounds were supplied by Iran.

"Qassam and Jerusalem Brigades (the groups' armed wings) announce joint responsibility for bombarding (Israel's) military installations and settlements near Gaza with dozens of rocket shells throughout the day", the groups said in a joint statement, according to Reuters.

The United States is calling on the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Hamas rocket fire against Israel when it meets on Wednesday.

France and Britain have criticised the draft resolution for a lack of specific details, diplomats said, adding the U.S. viewed it as biased against Israel.

Gaza's Hamas rulers said Wednesday they had agreed to a ceasefire with Israel to end the largest flare-up of violence between the sides since a 2014 war.

Commenting on the projectiles fired towards Israel earlier in the day, she said: "a disaster could have happened that led to war". It was struck early in the morning just before the children came to school.

Israeli forces have killed at least 121 Palestinians in Gaza since weekly demonstrations started on March 30.

But Israel has faced global criticism and calls for an independent investigation over its use of live fire during the protests and border clashes.

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