Israelis wounded by rocket fire from Gaza

Geraldine Edwards
July 17, 2018

Nearly continuous rockets sirens kept Israelis in the country's south just seconds away from shelters as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had launched waves of air bombardments targeting Hamas that it described as "the biggest offensive strikes since Protective Edge", the last major war between the two foes.

Those Israeli air strikes were partially in response to the months of fires started by the kite firebombs, but also over continuing protests and clashes along the Gaza border.

Following a barrage of almost 200 rockets and mortars fired into Israel on Saturday, an errant rocket fell short and knocked out electrical lines carrying power into Gaza, Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) reported Monday.

The head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza has said that the intensive Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip is meant to undermine the will of the Palestinians living in the enclave and crush their spirit. "If this is not understood through my words, it will be understood through the military's actions".

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An IDF statement said the targets were near where incendiary balloons were being launched at Israel.

Three Israelis were hospitalised as a result of the barrage, an Israeli police spokesman said.

The drills began a day after Tel Aviv launched its heaviest bombing of the Gaza Strip since 2014, prompting UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov to warn that Israel and Gaza were on the brink of war. Nevertheless, just minutes after the reports circulated, a projectile fired in the direction of Kibbutz Alumim near Nahal Oz was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Haaretz reported that four Israelis were lightly wounded after a rocket fired from Gaza struck their home in the southern city of Sderot.

"The targeting of the mosque in Al-Katiba Square and the National Library prove without doubt the barbarity of this occupation and the targeting of the identity, culture and legacy of the Palestinian people", said the veteran activist.

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A Hamas spokesman told Haaretz that "the escalation and intensification of Israel's aggression will not dictate a new agenda", adding that it would not "stop the procession of return". "Israel's attempts to undermine the Palestinian presence in Palestine are a throwback to the times of the Mongols who committed massacres and other atrocities, including the burning of the Library of Baghdad in the thirteenth century".

Ashrawi said as long as the world remains silent, "Israel's systematic campaign of brutalizing and terrorizing innocent Palestinians will only continue".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited a southern Israeli town bordering Gaza on Monday that was pummeled with rockets over the weekend from the strip and told community leaders there that Israel is engaged in a "lengthy battle".

It marks the first injuries on the Israeli side in the latest flare-up in violence between Israel and Hamas militants. Another teenager was shot and killed by Israeli forces as he attended protests along the Gaza fence on Friday.

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No Israelis have been killed.

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