Pregnant mother and child killed as conflict between Israel, Hamas escalates
10 August, 2018, 07:40 | Author: Myra Gill
Israeli aircraft struck more than 150 targets in Gaza on Wednesday night and early Thursday, and Palestinian militants fired scores of rockets including a long-range missile deep into Israel, escalating fighting despite talks on a truce to avert an all-out conflict.
Residents said the building had served mainly as a cultural centre.
The BBC duly complied, changing the headline to "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child" after rockets hit Israel'.
Israelis stand and inspect surrounding damages outside the cordoned area where a rocket fired by militants from the Gaza Strip fell and created a small crater in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on 9 August 2018.
While Israeli officials insisted that their large-scale attack on Gaza was in response to Hamas rocket fire, Haaretzreports that it was in fact the Israeli army that sparked the escalation by killing two Palestinians with tank fire, after they allegedly mistook a training exercise for an actual attack.
The Said Meshal Cultural Centre confirmed on its Facebook page the offices in Gaza City had been destroyed, saying the building also hosted offices for the Egyptian community in Gaza.
Gaza has been controlled by the Islamist group Hamas for more than a decade, a period that has seen three wars between Israel and the Palestinian enclave.
Gaza militants had at around noon halted fire after targeting Israel with some 180 rockets and mortars beginning Wednesday night and into Thursday.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza identified the pregnant woman as 23-year-old Inas Khamash, and her 18-month-old daughter as Bayan Khamash.
According to the Jerusalem Post, more than 200 rockets and mortars were launched since August 8, leaving 28 Israelis injured.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said Israel had "ground troops that are ready to deploy".
Over the past four months, 163 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including at least 120 protesters, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and a local rights group. The ministry said the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was convening a meeting of his security Cabinet.
In nearby Israeli communities, residents were sent scrambling to bomb shelters.
"Among the sites targeted were a weapons manufacturing and a storage facility, a complex used for the Hamas' naval force and a military compound used for rocket launching experiments", the Israeli military said in a statement.
Israel issued a stern message to Hamas against further violence as a shaky calm appeared to descend upon the Gaza border late Thursday night.
It said the Palestinian "resistance" had fired a large number of rockets at "enemy positions in the Gaza envelope".
As Israeli airstrikes persist and the living situation gravely worsens, Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege. "I don't know how, whether through reconciliation or a deal with Israel or Egypt".
"What I can say is that we targeted by definition only military targets that were clearly used by Hamas where there was an active presence of Hamas and nothing else", he told journalists.
The three flare-ups since July, which follow months of tensions due to protests and clashes along the Gaza border, have raised fears of a fourth war between the two sides since 2008. The military said that the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted at least 30 rockets and the majority landed in open areas.
UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said the United Nations had engaged with Egypt in an "unprecedented effort" to avoid serious conflict, but cautioned that "the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called on the global community to "immediately and urgently intervene".
At least 165 Palestinians have killed by Israeli fire since March 30.
Nofal claimed that this is one of the reasons why "the Palestinian people have emerged victorious in all battles".
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