Israel Hammers Gaza After 200 Rockets Hit Israel

Lamar Ellis
August 10, 2018

Thursday's events are the latest in a series of severe flare ups over the past few months in Gaza, leading many local and worldwide officials to speculate that another large-scale Israeli offensive on the Palestinian territory could be imminent. Israel rarely acknowledges reaching any such agreement with Hamas, a group it designates as a terrorist organisation and with whom it has fought three wars in the past decade.

The flare-up comes as Egypt is trying to broker a long-term cease-fire between the two sides.

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.

A senior Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the deal formally went into effect at midnight.

"Palestinian factions will respect calm as long as Israel does", he told Reuters.

Palestinian officials said a truce had been reached with Egyptian mediation.

Israel just launched multiple airstrikes destroying al-Meshal Cultural center in Gaza - a public area that hosts cultural festivals and art events.

"We are closer to an arrangement than we have been in the past because Hamas's interest in a deal is greater than its wish for escalation", he said.

"I've made a decision to take part in this fight, because there is none more justified".

Gaza and Israel both claimed victory yesterday after two days of fighting prompted warnings that the coastal strip was again on the brink of war.

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The Gaza Strip only has one power plant, which generated 140 megawatts in 1999 when it was built but now only produces 23 megawatts.

A flare up in cross-border violence has seen three Palestinians killed in Israeli air raids, and Hamas rockets fired into southern Israel. Israeli Police said they found its remnants in an open area on the outskirts of the city of 200,000 people and that no one was hurt.

Code Red incoming rocket alerts, however, continue to activate in various communities around the south; earlier in the day, an advanced, medium-range Qassam rocket was sacked at the central Negev city of Be'er Sheva.

Four Palestinians, including an unborn child, were killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza, according to Palestinian Health Ministry officials.

The sun may be free, but the technology is not, and Palestinians say their ability to import solar panels has been hampered by Israeli border controls. Local health officials said 18 bystanders were wounded by the blast.

Hamas started these violent confrontations to remain relevant and to curry favor with Iran that is using the terror group as another proxy army against Israel.

It was a show of force and defiance by Palestinian militants ahead of a meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, where terms for a possible truce were likely to be on the agenda.

The West Bank only gets around three-quarters of the power its 3 million people need, imported mostly from Israel and, to a far lesser extent, Jordan.

Tension along the Israel-Gaza border has escalated since late March, when Hamas launched what would become regular mass protests along Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza. Those have hit a stumbling block as Hamas is insisting that the release include all prisoners who were part of a 2011 prisoner exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit but have since been rearrested, according to Palestinian officials, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks.

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