Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Militants halt fire in Gaza flare-up

Militants halt fire in Gaza flare-up

France said it "deplores the escalation of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip".

Israel's military said the five-storey building was used by Hamas's "interior security forces for military purposes".

They were killed in an air strike in Jafarawi in central Gaza, the ministry said, while her husband was injured. Local health officials said 18 bystanders were wounded by the blast.

In a statement, the Israeli army claimed to have struck at least 140 targets across the Gaza Strip in recent days, also claiming that Gaza-based resistance groups had fired 80 rockets into southern Israel - 25 of which were intercepted - over the same period.

Late Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet issued a statement following a meeting saying it had instructed the military "to continue taking strong action against the terrorist elements".

While the rocket didn't caused any damage, Beersheva mayor Ruvik Danilovich told Kan news, "No country in the world would tolerate such a deterioration of security and a constant threat to their citizens". The Israeli army said in a statement that forces struck 150 "terror targets".

Palestinian officials have confirmed that the resistance movement Hamas and the Israeli regime have agreed on a ceasefire mediated by Egypt to stop cross-border fire in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Army Radio said the rocket was a long-range Grad capable of reaching Israel's heartland.

The strike hit a building that Palestinians say housed a cultural centre and other offices in the middle of the city, an AFP correspondent said. Those have hit a stumbling block as Hamas is insisting that the release include all prisoners who were part of a 2011 prisoner exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit but have since been rearrested, according to Palestinian officials, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks.

A plume of smoke rises from the remains of a building west of Gaza City that was targeted by the Israeli Air Force in response to a rocket attack that hit southern Israel earlier in the day on August 9, 2018. Israel in turn needs to send the message that there's a "price to pay", he said. The ministry said the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents.

Kamal Khamash, the brother-in-law of the pregnant mother who died alongside her child, told the Associated Press that the family was asleep when the projectile hit the house.

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The U.S. State Department condemned the launching of missile attacks into Israel.

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

A source familiar with the negotiations said Egypt and the United Nations had negotiated a return to calm starting shortly before midnight Thursday, seemingly bringing an end to the upturn in violence.

He added that "if the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people". The protests have been aimed in part at trying to break the blockade.

The third slain Palestinian, reportedly a Hamas fighter, was killed in an airstrike in northern Gaza.

Gaza militants had at around noon halted fire after targeting Israel with some 180 rockets and mortars beginning Wednesday night and into Thursday.

On Tuesday, Israeli tank fire had killed two members of Hamas' military wing.

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

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

At least 165 Palestinians have killed by Israeli fire since March 30.

Over the past four months, 158 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including at least 120 in the protests near the fence and others in Israeli air strikes and other incidents elsewhere in Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and a local rights group. But it has come under heavy global criticism for its frequent use of force against unarmed protesters.

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