News / Middle East

    Israel Launches Airstrikes After Rockets Fired From Gaza

    • Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel  (at right) as a rocket by the Iron Dome anti-missile system (at left) is fired to intercept them, before a five-day ceasefire was due to expire, Aug. 19, 2014.
    • A relative of the wife of Hamas's military leader, Mohammed Deif, and his infant son Ali, whom medics said were killed in Israeli air strikes, carries Ali's body during the funeral, in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 20, 2014.
    • An Israeli soldier sits atop an armored personnel carrier near the border with Gaza Strip, Aug. 20, 2014.
    • A Palestinian woman inspects her house that witnesses say was damaged during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Aug. 20, 2014.
    • A crowd of Palestinians march during the funeral of the wife of Hamas's military leader, Mohammed Deif, his infant son Ali and other Palestinians whom medics said were killed in Israeli air strikes, in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 20, 2014.
    • Israeli soldiers unload their weapons near the border with the Gaza Strip, Aug. 20, 2014.
    • A Palestinian boy stands next to the bodies of the wife of Hamas's military leader, Mohammed Deif, and his infant son Ali, whom medics said were killed in Israeli air strikes, during their funeral, in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 20, 2014.
    Israel, Hamas Resume Fighting as Cairo Talks Break Down
    VOA News

    New fighting erupted in Gaza Tuesday, jeopardizing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over a lasting cease-fire in the Mediterranean enclave.

    Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes against Hamas militants in Gaza after three rockets fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel.

    Palestinian authorities say a woman and a 2-year-old girl were killed by an Israeli missile in Gaza Tuesday - the first deaths after a cease-fire and truce talks collapsed.

    The violence came as the warring sides were holding indirect talks in Cairo in a bid to extend a temporary Gaza cease-fire into a more enduring truce.

    But after the rocket fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his negotiators to return home. A senior Hamas official said chances of securing a new agreement were "evaporating."

    The U.S. State Department, long involved in trying to secure Middle East peace, said it is "very concerned" about the new fighting and blamed Hamas.

    The Israeli military said the Gaza rockets landed in open fields near Beersheba and no one was injured.   Later, Israel said it intercepted two more rockets the militants fired into the Jewish state.

    After the first barrage of rocket attacks, Netanyahu quickly ordered the Israeli military to renew attacks on Hamas targets in Gaza. Thousands of Palestinians fled their homes in Gaza City, carrying clothes, pillows and mattresses as they headed to shelters in schools run by the United Nations.

    Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had agreed late Monday to a 24-hour extension of a five-day cease-fire, with the one-day truce set to expire at midnight Tuesday.

    Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev blamed Hamas for the end to nine days of relative calm in the skies over Gaza.

    "Today's rocket attack on the Israeli city of Beersheba is a grave and direct violation of the cease-fire that Hamas committed to. This is the 11th cease-fire that Hamas has either rejected or violated and it's clear that a cease-fire has to be a two-way street. It's not just that Israel holds its fire. Hamas must hold its fire, too," said Regev.

    The chief Palestinian negotiator, Azzam al-Ahmad, said late Monday that "the cycle of violence" would continue in the Gaza Strip if the talks did not succeed.

    "We agreed to the cease-fire for just one day, just one day. Tomorrow we will agree or we will not agree. We hope to use every minute of the next 24 hours to reach an agreement, or else the cycle of violence will continue," said al-Ahmad.

    The announcement of the cease-fire extension Monday came just minutes before a five-day cease-fire was set to expire.

    Egyptian mediators have been conducting indirect negotiations, carrying truce proposals back and forth between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Israel has refused direct talks because the Palestinian delegation includes Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group.

    The gap remains wide.  Israel demands the disarming of Hamas and an end to its cross-border rocket attacks. The Palestinians are calling for the end of Israel's eight-year blockade of impoverished Gaza.

    The five weeks of fighting have left more than 2,000 people dead, most of them Palestinians. It also has left Gaza neighborhoods in rubble from Israeli airstrikes. Sixty-seven Israelis have also been killed.  All but three were soldiers.

    Norway said if a lasting truce is reached, it will host a conference with Egypt to look for international donors to rebuild Gaza.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

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    Comments
         
    by: Chuck Rogers from: USA
    August 20, 2014 6:40 PM
    "By deception thou shalt wage war" Sound familiar? It should; it's Mossad's motto. Why would they say it if it wasn't true? Israel has a clear history of false flag attacks. Read Victor Ostrovsky, ex-Mossad member who wrote extensively about their continuous lies.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 19, 2014 2:14 PM
    If Hamas agreed to have fired the rockets, then it would not remain Hamas - a terrorist organization. Terrorists are liars, extortionists and twisters. They cannot be expected to be straight forward, unless one is naughts. Hamas is always itching to press the trigger, it wants to launch rockets at Israel until there is no Israel. And one thing, it is also in a hurry to do it. The world is watching this and yet Reuters will start reporting how many children are wounded once Israel responds to a Hamas missile launch into Israel. This empathy is giving Hamas too much leverage to maneuver and manipulate public opinion in its favor.

    Since head or tail Israel will be at the receiving end of public tirade and vituperation, then Israel should decide to do something pragmatic about the whole issue and put it to bed forever. I suggest Israel should not mind the outcry anymore but go all out to unilaterally disarm Hamas by bombing every part of the enclave until every sane human being there goes to look for safety somewhere else. After all nobody told the Yazidis to run for their lives when they saw death staring them in the face. I wonder why the UN agency has not been deployed there to warn that IS is bombing its school, or are the Yazidis not also deserving of sympathy and respect? When it remains only the Hamas' soldiers, then Israel can go in to do thorough cleansing of the place before the refugees will be allowed to return.

    This suggestion is pertinent because Hamas will NEVER agree peace with Israel; and to liberate it by opening it up to an airport and a seaport would be an epitaph. I hope Israel and Netanyahu are not about to commit suicide signing own death warrant by granting Hamas any chance to bring in weapons of mass destruction to wipe Israel out in one swoop.

    by: V. Lombardi from: Italy
    August 19, 2014 11:29 AM
    we must confront this Islamic malignancy. The Islamists resolute desire to impose these Islamic atrocities on all of us should prompt the Pontiff to issue a stronger condemnation of this evil. They are not going to be appeased. Thank God for US/Israel is all i can say.

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