Israel bombs Gaza, Palestinians fire rockets in escalation amid truce talks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman meet with top seucirty officials at IDF military's headquarters in Tel Aviv early Thursday

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman meet with top seucirty officials at IDF military's headquarters in Tel Aviv early Thursday

A senior Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the agreement merely ended the latest round of violence, in...

Smoke billows during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.

The flare-up, however, will distract from finding a more lasting solution to Gaza's long term economic problems, he said.

The Gaza Strip, home to almost two million Palestinians, has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.

Today's article by Isabel Kershner ("Renewed Clashes Between Israel and Gaza Interrupt Talk of Cease-Fire") fails to report the chronology of events, and erased cause and effect, by telling readers in its opening paragraph that Israel and Hamas spent the night "trading" attacks, as if discussing a simultaneous transaction: "Talk of a long-term cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza was abruptly interrupted by cross-border fire late Wednesday and early Thursday as the Israeli military traded blows with Palestinian militants, the latest in a series of recent sharp clashes".

Ambulance sirens echoed through the night in Gaza, where families huddled at home as powerful explosions thundered through the strip. Palestinians have thrown explosive devices and opened fire at forces along the border in numerous instances over the past few months, the military said.

A Hamas militant was also killed in the overnight strikes and at least 12 others injured, the health ministry said.

The Israeli military says at least seven people were wounded in Israel in border towns, including two Thai workers, after at least 180 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

Palestinians inspect the damaged building of Said al-Mis'hal cultural centre after it was hit bombed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Thursday. Seven people were wounded by Palestinian rockets and mortars that struck Israel.

Another unnamed Palestinian official confirmed to Reuters the truce had been reached, saying, "Egyptian efforts managed to restore calm between Palestinian factions and Israel that will end the current escalation".

A pregnant Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old child were killed in the Israeli attacks, as was a Hamas militant.

Israel's military declined to comment. "What was the guilt of the baby?" asked Said Khamash, a cousin of the woman's husband, who was injured in the air strike, which left a gaping hole in the ceiling of their modest home in the Wadi al-Salqa area of central Gaza.

"Bayan was sleeping with her mother and father".

"Let's not forget that Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza", Nauert said.

"What I can say is that we targeted by definition only military targets that were clearly used by Hamas where there was an active presence of Hamas and nothing else", he told journalists on Thursday morning.

Egypt and the United Nations intervened to broker the ceasefire and prevent Israel from launching another war on Gaza after tensions escalated in recent weeks.

On Twitter, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri echoed similar sentiments, and called on the global community to "shoulder its responsibilities towards Israel's aggression and siege".

Israel has killed more than 150 people since March when Palestinians began to stage protests on the border to demand an end to the blockade and the return of the Palestinians to the occupied territories.

At least 165 Palestinians have killed by Israeli fire since then. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this period.

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