Gaza militants fire more rockets on Israel

2014-03-13 16:55
Dozens of mortar shells and rockets are on display after being seized from the Panama-flagged KLOS C civilian cargo ship in the Red Sea city of Eilat, southern Israel. (Ariel Schalit, AP)

Dozens of mortar shells and rockets are on display after being seized from the Panama-flagged KLOS C civilian cargo ship in the Red Sea city of Eilat, southern Israel. (Ariel Schalit, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Gaza City - Gaza militants resumed rocket fire toward Israel on Thursday, striking the outskirts of two major cities a day after launching the largest barrage since an eight-day Israeli offensive in late 2012. Israel has responded with a series of air strikes on militant targets.

Despite the exchanges, there were signs the two days of fighting could subside. Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian group responsible for the rocket fire, said it had agreed through Egyptian mediation to halt its attacks if Israel agreed to a truce as well.

"After the Egyptian brothers initiated contacts with us in the past few hours, we agreed to restore the calm," said Khaled al-Batch, the group's leader in Gaza. "As long as the occupation [Israel] honours the calm, we will honour the calm and instructions are being given right now to al-Quds brigades, our military wing, about this understanding."

There was no immediate comment from Israel or Egypt, which has mediated similar truces in the past. And as he spoke, the Israeli military announced it had carried out more air strikes on "seven terror sites" in southern Gaza in retaliation for the rocket fire earlier in the day. In all, it said some 65 rockets had been fired into Israel over the past two days.

"Since yesterday, there has seen a substantial deterioration in the safety of the residents in southern Israel. We have responded and will continue to do so in order to eliminate threats as they develop," said Lt Col Peter Lerner, a military spokesperson.

The early morning rocket attacks from Gaza set off air-raid sirens in the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon. The rockets landed in open areas, but flew deeper into Israel than Wednesday's attacks, which hit on southern Israeli border towns. There have been no casualties in the latest flare-up.

Gaza militant groups said they resumed their rocket fire in response to what they say are Israeli violations of a cease-fire, including an air strike that killed three Islamic Jihad militants earlier this week.

Both sides have largely observed a cease-fire that ended the Israeli offensive against rocket launchers in November 2012, in which Israel and Gaza militants engaged in eight days of heavy fighting.

In Wednesday's attacks, Gaza militants fired more than 40 rockets at Israel in two hours on Wednesday. Israel responded swiftly with dozens of air strikes against militant targets in Gaza. The rocket attacks come during a visit to Israel by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who condemned the attacks.

Harm those who harm us

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to convene his security Cabinet to discuss a further Israeli response, though the expectations were that tensions would calm down in a matter of days rather than spiral into a larger conflagration.

"Our policy in the south is clear. We harm those who try to harm us and respond fiercely to any attack," Netanyahu said on Thursday. "The terrorist groups in Gaza need to understand that they are dealing with a very determined government and a very strong army."

The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad has taken responsibility for the rocket fire, saying it was meant to avenge the deaths of three of its members killed in Tuesday's air strike while firing mortars toward Israel.

Gaza's ruling Hamas movement has not been involved in the latest fighting. But Israeli leaders say they hold the Islamic militant group responsible because it rules the coastal Palestinian territory.

Daoud Shihab, a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, said implied that Hamas had given at least tacit approval for the group's activities, saying "the response of yesterday was blessed by all the factions."

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson, said Israel "bears full responsibility" for the escalation.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since overrunning the forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. Abbas now governs in the West Bank, located on the opposite side of Israel.

At a meeting with Cameron at his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, Abbas condemned the latest violence. "Yesterday rockets were launched from Gaza and Israeli responded," he said. "We condemn the aggression and all forms of military escalation, including the rockets."

Gaza militants have fired thousands of rockets and mortar rounds at Israel over the past decade. Attacks have significantly declined since the 2012 offensive, in which Israel carried out some 1 500 air strikes on targets in Gaza while militants fired 1 500 rockets into Israel.

Israeli aircraft periodically strike militants who launch rockets.

- AP
Read more on:    islamic jihad  |  hamas  |  gaza  |  israel  |  middle east peace
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Africa
 

Adventure holidays you HAVE to put on your bucket list

Need a break from your usual boring routine? Consider one of these places for your next adventure holiday.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.