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Israeli jets pound Gaza after rocket hits home

Israeli jets pound Gaza after rocket hits home

Israeli fighter jets have struck targets in the Gaza Strip, killing one Palestinian and injuring three others.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, Naji Ahmad al-Zaneen, 25 was killed in the attack in northern Gaza early on Wednesday.

The Israeli army stated that it carried out air raids in response to a rocket fire that hit a home in Beersheba in southern Israel. 

“At 4am [01:00 GMT] Israelis in the city of Beersheba were running to bomb shelters after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel,” the Israeli army said on Twitter.

“We will defend Israeli civilians,” it added.

It was one of the first rockets fired in months from the Palestinian territory under Israel’s devastating 11-year blockade and comes at a time of renewed tensions between Israel and Gaza.

Another rocket from Gaza reportedly fell into the sea near Tel Aviv. No injuries were reported.

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‘Heavy blow’

The rocket was the first to hit an Israeli home since the 2014 devastating Israeli military assault on the besieged enclave.

It comes a day after Israel’s defence minister said the time had come to deliver a “heavy blow” to Hamas after the Israeli army killed seven Palestinians on Friday, including two teenage boys, during demonstrations along Israel’s separation fence.

It was unclear who fired the projectiles but the Israeli army says it holds Hamas accountable for what is happening in the territory under its control.

The rocket fire comes after months of demonstrations in Gaza near the Israeli fence.

The protesters are demanding to return to their homes in Israel, under the UN Resolution 194, which stipulates their right of return.

At least 70 percent of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees, their families having fled or were expelled during the 1948 war that created the state of Israel.

They are also demanding an end to the crippling 11-year Israeli-Egyptian siege.

Since the Great March of Return demonstration began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 205 Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave including journalists and paramedics and have injured more than 18,000.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 68 Palestinians have had their limbs amputated due to serious injuries.

In response to last week’s demonstrations in which some Palestinians threw rocks at soldiers and burned tyres, Israel halted Qatari-donated fuel shipments to Gaza’s power plant.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened “very painful blows,” saying Israel was very close to waging a “different kind of activity”.

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“If it has any sense, Hamas will cease its fire and violent outbursts – now,” he said.

Cutting off fuel

Israel’s defence minister said on Tuesday the protests could not be allowed to go on.

“We are not prepared to accept the level of violence we see week after week,” Avigdor Lieberman told troops and commanders at an army base near southern Israel’s border with Gaza.

He also suspended shipments of fuel that had been trucked daily into Gaza over the previous week under a deal brokered by the UN and backed by the United States, Israel and others.

It had seen thousands of litres brought into the fuel-starved Gaza strip.

The UN says Israeli blockade of the enclave has resulted in a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation.

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.








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