Israel and Hamas agree on truce to end Gaza flare-up

Leroy Wright
August 10, 2018

Those killed in the Gaza Strip included Enas Khammash, 23, and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave. But at least 11 Israelis were injured after projectiles slammed into residential areas, blowing out windows and leaving cars and buildings pockmarked with shrapnel.

Israeli and Hamas officials both threatened a further intensification of hostilities.

"The U.N. says Gaza will be unlivable by 2020", IMEU observes.

It was not clear if the escalation, the latest in a series of intense exchanges of fire in recent months, would derail the indirect negotiations between Israel and Gaza's Hamas militant rulers.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007.

Despite the animosity, the enemies have signalled, through their contacts with Egypt, that they want to avoid another war.

But the continued outbursts of fire have jeopardized those cease-fire efforts. But early on Friday, the situation in Gaza appeared quiet.

A Hamas militant was also killed in the strikes and at least 12 others injured, the Health Ministry said.

The incident occurred while a group of senior Hamas leaders from overseas were visiting Gaza to discuss the ceases-fire efforts with local leaders.

The flare-up, however, will distract from finding a more lasting solution to Gaza's long term economic problems, he said.

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Hours earlier, a Palestinian official said armed factions in Gaza were prepared to halt a round of rocket attacks on southern Israel - where communities near the border had been targeted - if the Israeli military stopped its air strikes after two days of violence.

"The government is sending the IDF to kill mosquitoes, instead of working to dry the swamp", he says.

He added that the resistance movement would insist on its position that the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip has to be lifted as part of any talks with Tel Aviv.

Rocket alert sirens sounded in Beersheba, a city of 200,000 inhabitants some 40 km from the Gaza Strip, for the first time since the last war in 2014. The military said that the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted at least 30 rockets and the majority landed in open areas.

Israeli Cabinet minister for construction and housing, Yoav Gallant, said that "whatever is needed to be done to defend our civilians and soldiers, will be done, no matter what would be the price in Gaza".

"We need an end to this", said Salwa Masry, 44, a mother of five who lives west of Gaza City.

Mladenov's statement came amid the latest surge in violence this week, in which Hamas fired over 150 rockets at Israel. An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment.

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. He said Hamas is demanding the complete lifting of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, while Israel has offered only to ease the restrictions.

The official, at a command centre used by armed groups in Gaza, said they had been "responding to crimes" by Israel - a reference to the killing on Tuesday, in disputed circumstances, of two Hamas gunmen.

After the BBC published a headline that read, "Israeli air strikes "kill woman and a toddler, '" the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a formal complaint to the British outlet, and it ultimately changed the headline to, "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child" after rockets hit Israel".

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