Tensions flare as Israel hits dozens of Gaza targets after mortar barrage

Sergio Conner
May 30, 2018

"Hamas is turning the fence into an active combat zone, and we can not tolerate attacks on Israeli civilians and military targets". But more than an hour after the deadline, rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes were continuing.

The heavy projectile attack on Israeli towns Tuesday morning is a sign that Hamas has "lost control" over the Gaza Strip, IDF Spokesperson Brig.

In a series of interviews with Israeli media outlets, Manelis stressed that the IDF will not allow for such attacks to go unanswered.

"They sacrificed too much and achieved very little", said Michael.

The military wings of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed "responsibility for the striking of military positions and Zionist settlements", saying their strikes were in response to Israeli attacks targeting their positions in recent days.

Diplomats said the United States is likely to use its veto to block adoption of that measure, but Kuwait is hoping to win backing from the 14 other council members to highlight Washington's isolation on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

The Islamic Jihad attack on southern Israel came less than a day after Israel and Russian Federation reportedly reached understandings on the presence of Iranian-backed forces on the Golan Heights near the Israeli border.

"An agreement was reached to return to the (2014) ceasefire understandings in the Gaza Strip".

The exchange of fire raised the possibility of yet another war in the beleaguered Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas, which would be the fourth since 2008.

This follows weeks of Palestinian mass demonstrations near the fence with border. In late March, thousands began weekly protests demanding both a right to return to land that is now inside Israel and a solution to the crisis facing more than 2 million residents.

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Later in the day, further rockets or mortar rounds were intercepted by Israel from Gaza, the army said.

Shortly after noon on Tuesday, IAF warplanes attacked a large number of Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, while Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu linked the morning attack to the situation in Syria, where the Iranian-backed pro-Assad coalition is trying to set up camp in the vicinity of the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

He said Islamic Jihad did not want the violence to escalate and blamed Israel for the flare-up.

The Israeli military said the boat was intercepted without incident, was taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod and the 17 people aboard would be sent back to Gaza.

The high Palestinian death toll in the border protests has drawn strong worldwide criticism of Israel, with rights groups saying Israel's use of live fire is illegal because in many cases it has struck unarmed protesters who did not pose an imminent threat to Israeli soldiers.

"Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable under any circumstances", she said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had instructed embassies around the world to seek similar condemnations of the Palestinian fire.

Israel has rejected the criticism of its response to the protests, saying it is defending its border and nearby communities.

"The truce came about after Israel conveyed a message to the Egyptians that if the Palestinian factions didn't stop, Israel would react in a stronger, harder way and target the leadership of those groups".

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