Gaza air strikes 'kill five' as rockets hit Israel

تم نشره في Sat 9 August / Aug 2014. 03:48 PM
  • Smoke rises in the Gaza Strip after an Israeli strike August 8, 2014. (Reuters)

Five people have been killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, health officials there say, as Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets at Israel.

Violence resumed after the end of a three-day ceasefire on Friday.

Tensions have also been growing in the West Bank where protesters have clashed with Israeli troops. Reports say two Palestinians have been shot dead, one on Friday and one on Saturday.

At least 1,960 people have died since violence erupted in Gaza in early July.

More than 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed, according to the UN.

Sixty-seven people have died on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

Israel said it renewed its military offensive soon after the truce lapsed in response to rocket fire by the Hamas militant group, which dominates Gaza.

Mosque attacked

On Saturday, the bodies of three Palestinians were pulled from the wreckage of a mosque in Gaza, local officials said.

Two more people died when their motorcycle was bombed, the authorities added.

There have also been two major explosions in the Gaza Harbour area. A BBC correspondent says one of the blasts is believed to have targeted a Hamas training facility.

The Israeli military said on Twitter earlier it had struck 33 sites in Gaza on Saturday, while six rockets had hit southern Israel.

They say more than 70 rockets have been fired from Gaza since the end of the ceasefire.

The conflict has also caused tensions in the West Bank, the territory governed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement.

A Palestinian man died of a bullet wound during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the city of Hebron, health officials said on Saturday.

Earlier, Israeli military officials confirmed that troops had killed a Palestinian man on Friday at a protest near a Jewish settlement outside the town of Ramallah.

The US and United Nations have condemned the fresh outbreak of violence in Gaza, urging the two sides to cease hostilities.

The fighting resumed after Israeli and Palestinian representatives failed to agree a long-term truce at indirect talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Hamas said Israel had failed to meet its key demands, including the lifting of the Gazan blockade and the release of prisoners. It also rejected Israel's call for the demilitarisation of Gaza.

Meanwhile Israeli officials said they would not "negotiate under fire".

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July with the stated aim of halting rocket fire from militants in Gaza and destroying the network of tunnels it said were used by militants to launch attacks inside Israel.

The strikes have damaged large parts of Gaza, including the only electricity plant, which was knocked out by shelling on 29 July.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that the plant's shutdown has worsened the humanitarian crisis for Gaza's 1.7 million residents.

"It has drastically curtailed the pumping of water to households and the treatment of sewage," HRW, a New York-based group, said on Saturday.

The group said hospitals are increasingly relying on generators, and the supply of food is under threat because refrigerators and bakeries have no power.

Israel said its forces hit the station by accident. (BBC)

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