Israeli officials ramp up calls for a 'strong blow' against Gaza

Hannah Rogers
October 18, 2018

Another rocket from Gaza struck a beach near one of Israel's larger cities. "It is our responsibility to do everything possible to avoid that confrontation". Israeli forces responded with tear gas and live fire.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus explained that the mid-range rockets fired were at the disposal of only two groups in the Gaza Strip - Hamas and PIJ. In their statement, they pointed to a smaller militant faction that they said was attempting to scuttle the Egyptian efforts. More than a dozen Israelis were injured when the rocket destroyed the second floor of a family home. Five other Palestinians were wounded in separate attacks. The military released video purportedly showing militants preparing to fire another rocket toward Israel before they were targeted.

"From our point of view", he said, "Hamas bears full responsibility for this attack, creating an environment for terror and violence along the security fence, as we have seen, for the past few months".

Gaza militants fired two rockets before dawn, one of which caused major damage to a family home in the southern city of Beersheba, 40 kilometres (25 miles) away, the Israeli army said. I said this week at the start of the Cabinet meeting that if these attacks do not stop we will stop them.

Israel has drawn global condemnation for its use of deadly force, but says it is protecting its borders and civilian population.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the closure of both of Israel's border crossings with Gaza on Wednesday following the attacks.

The Security Cabinet is scheduled to meet later Wednesday once Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has returned from the United States to decide on further steps.

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"These are mid-range rockets.only two types of organizations in Gaza have these kinds of rockets, and that is Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which very much narrows down who is behind it". The protests, which serve as an outlet to express frustration at the ever-deteriorating humanitarian conditions for the strip's 2 million residents and the decade-long land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, have turned lethal.

"At the same time, we emphasize we are ready to confront the Israeli aggression".

Hamas seeks a ceasefire with Israel to secure an easing of the blockade but accuses its West Bank rivals, Fatah, of thwarting the effort.

But on Friday night, Lieberman suspended the shipments in response to border violence in which the Hamas-run health ministry said seven Palestinians were killed.

It comes after months of violent Palestinian protests on the Gaza border, sparking deadly gunfire from Israeli troops and fears of an all-out conflict between Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars since 2008.

Violence raged throughout the weekend and into late Monday, with some 20,000 Palestinians participating in the demonstration, which have grown increasingly violent as Hamas operatives begin to deploy explosive devices, grenades, incendiary balloons, and other makeshift weapons.

Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on October 17, 2018.

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