After deadly protests, rockets fly and Israel strikes Gaza

by Garry Watts October 27, 2018, 13:28
After deadly protests, rockets fly and Israel strikes Gaza

There was no immediate acknowledgement of the ceasefire declaration in Israel, which in the past has denied proclamations by Gaza-based terror groups regarding understandings to end fighting.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians gathered at five locations along the boundary, burning tires and throwing rocks, grenades and firebombs at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

"The rockets that were launched against Israel. we know that the orders, incentives were given from Damascus with the clear involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force", army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said, referring to the Guards' foreign operations unit. The fuel, funded by Qatar, was meant to alleviate the humanitarian conditions in Gaza and reduce the tensions that contribute to the border protests.

In response to the rocket fire, Israeli aircraft and attack helicopters attacked over 90 targets in Gaza belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Loay Qarouti of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command said the mediators asked them "to protect the lives of protesters and minimize losses among them".

The sides have fought three wars since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

The Israeli army said some suspects briefly crossed the fence.

The "resistance is considering expanding the response in number and type, if the enemy continues its aggression against our people", it said. "Violence will not build futures for anyone", he said on Twitter.

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According to Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, those killed on Friday are Mohamed Abdul Nabbi, 27, Nasser Abu Tayem, 22, Ahmad Abu Lebda, 22, Ayesh Shaath, 23, and Nassar Abu Teem, 19.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed in the territory by Israeli fire since the protests began on March.

The majority have died during protests, while smaller numbers have been killed by airstrikes and tank fire.

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper along the border in the same period.

It has also witnessed a fresh wave of tensions since March 30, which marked the start of "The Great March of Return" protests.

The fresh violence could also scupper hopes of a deal to end the months of protests.

Israel says the decade-long blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, while critics say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza's two million residents.

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