IDF strikes Gaza targets after rocket fire hits home in Beersheba

Elias Hubbard
October 17, 2018

Israeli jets have struck targets in the Gaza Strip after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the enclave struck a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, the Israeli military says.

Following the attacks, schools in Beersheba were closed and Israel's military chief was cutting short his visit to the United States to come back and manage the crisis.

Israel's air force began striking targets in Gaza a few hours after the rocket launch, according to a statement from the Israeli military.

"A launch [of a rocket] from the Gaza Strip aimed at hitting the Israeli territory has been registered", the statement said.

Four Israelis were being treated for shock in a hospital after surviving the early morning rocket attack.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past decade and fighting has flared up on several occasions recently, though neither side appears to be interested in another full-blown war.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad distanced themselves from the attack, blaming the rocket fire on rogue jihadists groups in the Strip attempting to undermine Egyptian efforts to bring an end to the border violence in exchange for a boost in humanitarian aid to Gaza. The head of Egypt's General Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel, will arrive in Gaza on Thursday, sources in Gaza tell CNN.

Hamas's goal is create as much confusion and violence on the border as possible to elicit a response from the Israeli Defense Forces that could provide the terror group with an opportunity to kidnap soldiers.

The protests have intensified as Egyptian-mediated cease-fire efforts faltered.

Protesters threw flaming tires over the fence Monday, while fishing boats hoisted Palestinian flags. Gaza's health ministry said a 25-year-old Palestinian had been killed in the bombardments.

Lieberman's comments followed calls by far-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett for a harsh response against any Palestinians who cross the Israeli fence surrounding Gaza during regular protests on the boundary.

At least 205 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since March 30. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened "very painful blows", saying Israel was very close to waging a "different kind of activity".

Lieberman said that deadly clashes on Friday, after Israel helped facilitate diesel shipments to the fuel-starved Gaza Strip, were a turning point. "If it has sense, Hamas will stop firing and stop these violent disturbances - now", he said.

In Israel, the fiery threats against Hamas have been coupled with concern over being dragged into an unnecessary escalation that may have more to do with Palestinian infighting.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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