Israel warplanes strike Gaza after rocket fire

Hannah Rogers
October 27, 2018

Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of militant sites across the Gaza Strip as militants fired some 30 rockets into Israel in the heaviest exchange of fire between the bitter enemies in several weeks.

"Iron Dome has so far intercepted 10, saving many lives", he said.

Early Saturday morning, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets fired overnight, vowing to respond to every Israeli bombardment "by doing the same".

And army chief of staff, General Gadi Eisenkot, held a "situation assessment" at the military's Tel Aviv headquarters along with senior officials from the Shin Bet internal security agency.

The Israeli military said its air force hit more than 80 targets including a four-storey building used by Hamas as a headquarters, in response to more than 30 rockets launched into Israel.

A Hamas official said late Friday Egypt was again seeking to negotiate a return to calm.

Earlier, five Palestinians aged between 22 and 27 died in separate incidents along the border fence, the Gaza health ministry said.

Conricus said there had been no signs of Hamas trying to rein in Islamic Jihad. The Hamas-led weekly protests along the Israeli border have been aimed in large part at breaking the blockade, which has devastated the Gaza economy.

In the West Bank, a 33-year-old Palestinian man was killed and nine others wounded by live rounds, one in critical conditions, as the Israeli forces confronted stone throwers in a village near Ramallah city, doctors said.

The majority have died during protests, while smaller numbers have been killed by airstrikes and tank fire.

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In a statement, Parliamentary Speaker Karu Jayasuriya called for calm and restraint and for the crisis to be resolved quickly. He held the Prime Minister portfolio from April 6, 2004 until he became the President of the country in 2005.

The Israeli-Palestinian relations have always been tense over their territorial conflict, with Palestine seeking diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The protesters have been demanding an end to Israel's blockade and the right of return to land now inside Israel, from which their families were expelled or fled during the 1948 war that accompanied its creation.

They are also protesting over Israel's crippling blockade of Gaza.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008, and Egypt and the United Nations have been leading diplomatic efforts to avert a fourth.

The fresh violence could also scupper hopes of a deal to end the months of increasing tensions.

No Israelis were reported injured from the rockets.

The Israeli military has not commented on the damage to the medical facility, accusing Hamas on Twitter of "deliberately" placing its training site and a weapons depot "next to schools, a hospital & a mosque".

Israel and Gaza have seen similar sharp flare-ups in recent weeks.

"The Hamas terror organisation is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it", the army said on Thursday.

It allowed dozens of trucks of fuel paid for by Qatar into the strip, having previously banned their entry in response to the border violence.

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