Israel-Gaza violence rages into day 4

2012-03-12 19:32

Gaza - Israel launched more air strikes in the Gaza Strip and Palestinians kept up rocket fire against southern Israel on Monday in a fourth day of hostilities in which 23 Palestinians have been killed and 3 Israelis have been seriously wounded.  

Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire appeared to be stuck over a demand by the Islamic Jihad militant group that Israel first promise not to target militant leaders for future attack.

Israeli air strikes on Monday killed two Palestinian militants and an elderly man and his daughter, medical officials said.

A 15-year-old Palestinian youth died in an explosion that Palestinians blamed on an Israeli missile. The Israeli military denied it had carried out a strike. A Reuters cameraman at the scene, where militants had been launching rockets toward Israel, saw no signs of impact or of shrapnel.

More than 30 rockets, seven of them intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, were fired at Israel, causing no casualties, police said.

Eighteen of the Palestinians killed since fighting flared on Friday were identified by medical officials as militants and five as civilians. At least 74 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and three Israelis have been wounded in the past four days.

The violence has been following a familiar pattern in which militants launch rocket attacks and Israel carries out air raids in the Hamas-controlled enclave. But the bloodshed has usually ended after a few days with an informal truce.

Though serious, few in Israel expect the flare-up to lead to a ground assault reminiscent of the 2008-2009 Gaza war in which some 1 400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

Gaza's Hamas leadership, whose own cadres have kept out of the fighting, said on Sunday neighbouring Egypt was working to stop the violence and was consulting with other militants.


A Palestinian official close to the mediation told Reuters Israel had agreed to a midnight ceasefire.

But Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed faction behind most of the rocket fire, had baulked, insisting that any truce include an undertaking by Israel "to end assassinations".

Two chiefs of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) faction, accused by Israel of planning to attack it via Egypt's Sinai desert, were killed in an Israeli strike on Friday.

Israel signalled no end to what it calls "preventive targeting" operations.

"If the Qassam [rocket] fire ends, the Israel Defence Forces will not continue [strikes], but the Israel Defence Forces will continue thwarting any attempted terrorist attacks," military spokesperson Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai told Israel Radio.

He confirmed there had been contact with Egyptian mediators.

Palestinian attacks against Israel have disrupted normal life in the south and forced many schools to close on Sunday and Monday. Alerts to residents of southern towns to take shelter from incoming rockets punctuated radio programmes.

Islamic Jihad and the PRC, armed groups largely independent of Islamist Hamas, have said they fired most of the scores of rockets launched at Israel since Friday.

Some experts in Gaza believe Hamas had provided some smaller groups with ammunition but avoided direct participation in the fighting out of concern Israel would step up its attacks in the enclave.

Israel's ultimate destruction

Hamas is also eager to avoid any long-term military campaign as it struggles to adapt to political upheaval in Arab countries such as Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, and in Syria, where the group has abandoned its traditional headquarters.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai told Army Radio: "Israel is not keen to see an escalation, Israel is not keen to hurt innocents, Israel is absolutely opposed to this.

"For now, it [fighting] is on this kind of scale. But if it will prove protracted, then without a doubt there will be a powerful, painful blow so that this will not continue."

The violence has raised international concern.

France called for "an instant return to calm and restraint in order to avoid an escalation which would risk once again harming civilians". Russia urged an end to the fighting and said "the use of any violence from which the civilian population suffers is totally unacceptable".

Gaza, home to 1.7 million people, was under Israeli occupation from 1967 until 2005 and remains under blockade.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 and is fighting for an independent Palestinian state but has shunned the stalled peace process supervised by international powers and refuses to recognise the Jewish state.

Islamic Jihad is less influential than Hamas but shares the same ideology, which advocates Israel's ultimate destruction.

  • TheJaydedKing - 2012-03-12 19:55

    Another day in the middle east. The results of what happens when you let terrorists lead a government.

      Jaba - 2012-03-12 20:26

      One wonders if it wouldn't be SO much more effective to take off the kid gloves and pound Gaza relentlessly? Why should Israel restrict herself to pinpoint targeting when they fire off missiles in the general direction of Israel with abandon? Why not simply give them a strong dose of their own medicine? And if Gaza is razed to the ground in the process, who would miss that terrorist rabble, anyway? Fidel? Patrick Edwards? goyougoodthing ? bluzulu ? Well, okay, I'm willing to do the decent thing. I am more than happy to fly them all out to Gaza -- first class -- where they can step up and be counted .... as just a statistic in Hamas's propaganda war

      Jameel - 2012-03-13 08:46

      Agree with you Jaydee the Zionist government is terrorist

  • Jaba - 2012-03-12 20:02

    It´s time the Israelis produce millions of cheap "dumb" missiles and rain them over Gaza. What will the MSM say? They cannot blame Israel from doing exactly the same thing her enemies are doing, only perhaps that Israel does it better.

      Jaba - 2012-03-12 20:07

      however, the best defense is offense: 1) Drop Leaflets over Gaza and let the "innocents" leave their homes for 48 hours. 2) Turn Gaza into parking lot. 3) Repeat as necessary.

      Jaba - 2012-03-12 20:46

      lol pat Israel didn't start this latest aggression. Iran started it. Iran told Hamas they need help to take the pressure of their nuke production and the pressure of their butcher friend in Syria, thus Hamas fired the first rocket - actually the first 90 rockets before Israel even retaliated. but you can live you lie... its ok.

      Jaba - 2012-03-12 21:29

      Allah put Israel there, read the Koran lately Patrick? who you calling an idiot?

      Fred - 2012-03-13 06:16

      The Israelites have been in the area as long as the other tribes. This is recorded fact.

  • Boaz - 2012-03-12 20:14

    When the Arabs put down their weapons, peace will reign But when Israel puts down its weapons, there will not be an Israel" This was true 64 years ago as it is true today and all the years that have passed since Israel's proclamation on 14 May 1948. Will the Arabs ever learn...?

      Malcolm - 2012-03-12 20:33

      @Patric Edwards: Are you suggesting that Israel does not have a right to exist?

      Fred - 2012-03-13 04:19

      The Israelites have been in the area as long as the other tribes. This is recorded fact. Why haven't the unelected dictators in the region given the Palestinians the few neighborhoods the Palestinians need to call home, from the vast land they control? Why do they keep funneling them arms and incite them to violence? What purpose does this serve the unelected dictators?

      Bobo - 2012-03-13 04:50

      Gee wizzzzzz Patric .... What stupid question is that ?

  • Lacrimose - 2012-03-12 20:15

    Sigh. Same news from the same region since the 1960's. Neither side will rest until the other bends to their particular brand of insanity. I say fill that whole region in with cement. The number of lives lost by both sides, the billions of $ spent by both sides. For what? It's a study in human absurdity.

      Fred - 2012-03-13 04:20

      Filling the area with cement is not absurd?

      Fred - 2012-03-13 06:17

      Consistent with your absurd line of thinking though, Patrick.

  • phathuchicos - 2012-03-12 20:26

    Like ying-yang Middle-east balances the peace in countries around the world wit its's a perfect balance of sour and sweetness

  • Malcolm - 2012-03-12 20:30

    Go Israel, we’re with you all the way. If Arabs stop attacking Israel peace will be created naturally, because historical facts inform us that Arabs are the aggressors and Israeli’s are defenders and retaliators. Palestinians aim many rockets at ordinary people daily with the wilful intention to slaughter these innocent, defenceless men, women and children. These appalling and disgraceful acts of cowardice are quite rightly rebutted by swift Israeli retaliation in order to protect their citizens.

      Dmitri - 2012-03-12 21:48

      Bibi should send in Sayaret. @Boaz - well done, someone who knows his history. @Jaba - another one who knows the history. People forget that Hizbolla and the other terror groups are a "side show". The main enemy here is Iran. That has been going on since Iran was known as Persia.

  • Mohammed Afzal Jhetam - 2012-03-12 22:09

    23 Palestinians killed, 3 Israelis wounded... Who are the aggressors?

      nathanacohen - 2012-03-12 22:21

      Dear Mohammed Your comments on News24 are retarded. You fail to recognize that most if not all of those 23 are militants. The aggressors are those who fire rockets relentlessly, not the retaliators defending themselves. Please stop making a fool of yourself Regards People with a brain

      Jaba - 2012-03-12 22:28

      Allah decided who to take... over 200 rockets over Israel... but Israelis are now living their lives in bomb shelters. Israeli targeted killings seem to be working, and any civilian killed is not the objective - however as i said before Allah decided who goes and who stays.

      nathanacohen - 2012-03-12 22:44

      Aaah our favourite troll rears his ugly head again! Patrick when will you stop with your baseless statements? Im sure im n ot the only one one here sick of reading your repetitive lies! Are you saying there were no Jews in the land before? Are you saying that there was no Jewish majority in Jerusalem? I know you believe that Jews came in and stole the land from the innocent arabs...but do us all a favour, go do some research and sadly for you, you will be proven wrong!

      Fred - 2012-03-13 04:21

      Hundreds of thousands of civilians intentionally killed with suicide and car bombs intentionally place in public places by Islamic militants funded by the unelected dictators of the region. Who are the aggressors?

      Fred - 2012-03-13 04:24

      Mohammed, you're a young boy. Don't go down that road. it's filled with hostility, violence, pain and suffering. Don't be taken it. Your life is precious, not to be given up, contrary to what they're telling you.

      Fred - 2012-03-13 04:25

      Mohammed, you're a young boy. Don't go down that road. It's filled with hostility, violence, pain and suffering. Don't be taken in. Your life is precious, not to be given up, contrary to what they're telling you.

  • Edwhynot - 2012-03-13 09:54

    Juuust declare war against the terrorists and wipe Gaza clean ffs. Who cares about them anyways? With all of them gone, many many Israeli problems gone aswell!

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