Israeli jets strike Gaza in response to Palestinian rockets

Glen Norman
October 18, 2018

A statement issued by the so-called Joint Operations Room of the Palestinian Resistance factions, a group comprising Hamas and several terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip, "rejected all irresponsible attempts to sabotage" Egyptian efforts to achieve a truce with Israel.

The top Egyptian official was scheduled to visit Ramallah and the Gaza Strip on Thursday as part of Cairo's effort to avert a military confrontation between Israel and Hamas.

The family of three children escaped injury but were treated for shock at the scene, Israeli media reported.

They killed one Palestinian in northern Gaza who the army said was set to launch a rocket.

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

The army said it was investigating why the Iron Dome missile defense system was not activated in response to the incoming rocket fire.

But Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh responded by saying that "diesel and salaries wouldn't stop the violence".

Tensions between the two sides have been high in recent months as thousands of Gaza residents continue to protest along the border fence. "Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad", he said, referring to a group closely allied to Hamas.

"Whether it was one or the other is irrelevant from our point of view".

As a first response, Israeli military jets pounded Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip.

Another rocket launched from Gaza and aimed at central Israel fell into the Mediterranean Sea, the military said. The military released video purportedly showing militants preparing to fire another rocket toward Israel before they were targeted.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the closure of both of Israel's border crossings with Gaza, making the heavily restricted Rafah crossing with Egypt the enclave's sole gateway to the outside world.

It also reduced the permitted fishing zone along the Gaza coast to three nautical miles.

The situation in southern Israel further deteriorated last Friday when an estimated 15,000 Palestinian Arabs participated in an orgy of violence along the border with Israel, while Hamas used the chaos to launch another attempt to infiltrate the Jewish state and to kidnap IDF soldiers.

Gaza's two million residents endure dire living conditions including a shortage of safe drinking water and regular power cuts, partly because of the lack of fuel for the strip's power station.

Israel has accused Hamas of using the protests as a pretext to carry out attacks on Israeli soldiers and border communities.

Additionally, an investigation by the IDF found that Palestinian protesters had "detonated a large explosive device" near a border fence. A war would be "devastating for the people of Gaza and for the Israelis who live across the border", he said.

"Unfortunately neither the minister of defence nor the prime minister, nor the prime minister together with the minister of defence can make such a decision on their own", he said.

"We are not prepared to accept the level of violence we see week after week", he told troops and commanders at an army base near the Gaza border.

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