Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened on Tuesday morning his “security cabinet” to consider Israel ‘s next steps in the face of renewed violence with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The army announced that it had sent reinforcements of infantry and armored vehicles.
GAZA / JERUSALEM – Gunfire between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the most violent since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, has killed eight people since Monday, all of them Palestinian.
Palestinian rocket fire on southern Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza continued on Tuesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assembled his “security cabinet”. At the end of the six-hour meeting, the ministers ordered the army to continue its operations “as much as necessary”, suggesting that the strikes could stop if the Palestinians stop firing rockets.
For their part, armed groups in the Palestinian enclave have said they are ready for an immediate cease-fire if the Israelis do the same. Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, also discussed the possibility of a cease-fire if Israel ends its raids.
“As far as we are concerned, the truce took effect,” said another Palestinian official later, adding that it was up to Israel to respect it on its side.
Israel has sent infantry and armored reinforcements to the border of the Palestinian enclave. The army said Tuesday that the anti-aircraft shield “Iron Dome” had intercepted a hundred projectiles.
Of the seven Palestinians killed by strikes since Monday in the Gaza Strip, at least five are activists.
In Ashkelon, southern Israel, a rocket fired from Gaza hit a house and killed a Palestinian worker from the West Bank. A seriously injured woman was removed from the rubble.
In two days, more than 400 rockets or mortar shells were fired at Israel. An Israeli soldier was wounded on Monday when a guided missile hit a bus, the IDF said.
The Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip since June 2007, launched its offensive after the death of one of its leaders, killed on Sunday with six other Palestinian fighters by Israeli commandos. An Israeli colonel was also killed in this operation.
A Palestinian official said Egypt and the United Nations are stepping up efforts to end the clashes.
In a statement, armed groups in Gaza threaten to hit the cities of Ashdod, north of Ashkelon, and Beersheba, the largest city in southern Israel, if the Israelis continue their strikes.
Dozens of Israeli raids struck buildings in the Gaza enclave, including a Hamas intelligence site and Al Aksa TV studios – the Israeli army had previously asked staff to evacuate the premises.
Egypt has called Israel to restraint. The United States, an ally of Israel, condemned the rocket fire of Hamas.
“The escalation of the past 24 hours is EXTREMELY dangerous and reckless,” said Nickolay Mladenov, UN envoy for the Middle East. “The rockets must STOP, everyone must be restrained,” he wrote.
France declared condemning “with the greatest firmness” the Palestinian firing.
“France strongly condemns the numerous rocket attacks claimed by Hamas, which deliberately targeted several southern Israeli communes in the last few hours from the Gaza Strip,” said the spokesman of the Quai d’Alger. Orsay.
“It expresses its solidarity with the affected populations, and in particular with the families of the victims, and calls for the immediate cessation of these unacceptable and unjustifiable actions and calls on the parties to avert a new cycle of violence, with civilian populations being the first victims.” added the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, spokesman for the Israeli army, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have more than 20,000 rockets and mortar shells of various calibers and staves, able to reach the major Israeli cities that are Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Three conflicts between Israel and Hamas in ten years.