United Nations appeals for calm as hostilities in Israel, Gaza threaten ceasefire efforts

Howard TerryAug 10, 2018

Gaza's Health Ministry said three Palestinians were slightly injured in the strikes.

Both sides have said they are working toward a cease-fire agreement, though continued rocket fire may dampen efforts.

In southern Israel, two Thai labourers were among the seven wounded by rocket fire, and rockets damaged buildings in the cities of Sderot and Ashkelon.

The latest flare-up in the south came as negotiations over a long-term ceasefire - mediated by the United Nations and Egypt - continued.

Later, Palestinians fired about 70 rockets across the border, and Israeli aircraft struck at least a dozen militant targets.

Meanwhile, air raid sirens sounded nearly nonstop in southern Israel from sundown on Wednesday, warning residents to stay in shelters as more than 80 rockets were fired in their direction.

Israel initially said the two fighters were shooting at Israeli soldiers, but Hamas said they were involved in a training exercise that senior officials were attending. Following the barrages throughout the night, the IAF struck over 100 terror targets including a plant used to manufacture components intended for the construction of tunnels as well as a tunnel for maritime terrorism along Israel's coast.

At least three Palestinians died - a pregnant woman, her one-year-old daughter and a Hamas militant, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

It said Israel was targeted with around 150 rockets from late Wednesday into Thursday.

"This is the only barrier of its kind in the world, which will in effect block the possibility of infiltration of Israel from Gaza via the sea", Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated at the end of May.

Israel's military on Thursday warned Hamas against a further escalation in violence, and Israeli media said officials were considering evacuating residents from areas near the Gaza border. Since then, the group has fought three wars with Israel, most recently in 2014, which has seen deaths and injuries of thousands of civilians and has left much of Gaza is ruin.

The incident occurred while a group of senior Hamas leaders from overseas were visiting Gaza to discuss the ceasefire efforts with local leaders. Along with Egypt, Israel maintains a blockade that has brought the territory's economy to a state of collapse.

The current round of hostilities kicked off Tuesday, when Israel shelled a Hamas post and killed two snipers who were taking part in an exercise, mistakenly thinking they were shooting at Israel. "We are reinforcing the southern command and Gaza division".

The gathering had raised hopes a deal for a lasting truce with Israel, with the backing of Egypt and the United Nations.

The statistics showed that 155 Palestinians were shot and killed, while 17,259 suffered from various injuries, including tear-gas suffocation.

Tensions have been running high near the Gaza fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests demanding the right to return for the Plaestinains driven out of their homeland.

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