Israel minister threatens occupation of besieged Gaza as tensions soar
30 May, 2018, 17:15 | Author: Edward Snyder
"An agreement was reached to return to the (2014) ceasefire understandings in the Gaza Strip", Hamas' deputy chief in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, said.
"Many mediations have occurred in the past hours, and we've reached a consensus to return to the understandings of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip", it said, adding, "And we we will be committed to the ceasefire as long the Israeli occupation do".
Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed Palestinian terror organization, attacked southern Israel Tuesday morning by lobbing between 50 and 60 mortar shells at Israeli towns and communities in what is called the "Gaza belt".
"Israel will make [Hamas] pay for all fire against Israel", Katz told Israeli public radio.
Residential buildings in the Gaza Strip lost power.
The situation on the border escalated on Monday, particularly after an Israeli tank attacked a militant observation post in response to an attempted violation of the border by two Palestinians.
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.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but there was speculation the mortars were fired by Islamic Jihad in revenge for a recent incident that left three of its members dead.
Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab said his faction "does not want an escalation or war".
Israeli soldiers stand guard next to an Israeli Iron Dome defence system, created to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, deployed along the fence with the Gaza strip on May 29, 2018.
Later in the day, further rockets or mortar rounds from Gaza were intercepted, the army said.
At least seven Hamas and its allies bases were struck, security sources in Gaza said. One exploded in a kindergarten yard, damaging walls and scattering debris and shrapnel around the playground, about an hour before it was scheduled to open for the day.
Tuesday's exchange of fire came after weeks of deadly unrest along the fence between Israel and the blockaded Palestinian enclave.
Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said the most extensive strikes from Gaza since the 2014 war also drew "the largest IDF retaliatory attack" since that conflict. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have expanded.
Most believe this round of violence may be at an end.
The pretext for the Islamic Jihad attack on Israel was the liquidation of three Islamic Jihad operatives who were attempting to infiltrate into Israel from the Rafah area earlier this week.
The furore began after IDF soldiers shot and killed 62 protesters on Monday, and injured more than 2,000.
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