Wednesday, June 23, 2021
HomeWorldIsraeli strike kills Gaza child as conflict resumes

Israeli strike kills Gaza child as conflict resumes

Israeli warplanes struck targets across Gaza, killing a child on Friday in retaliation to rocket fire after a 72-hour truce expired without a breakthrough on a longer-term ceasefire.

Palestinian militants started the rocket salvos ahead of the truce expiry at 0500 GMT, and Gazans again fled homes in fear before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a forceful response.

The bloodshed ended a three-day lull that had followed a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas that killed at least 1,890 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side, almost all soldiers.

A 10-year-old boy was the first person whom Palestinian emergency services reported killed in Friday’s Israeli air strikes in the Sheikh Radwan in northern Gaza City with six others, including a woman, wounded.

The interior ministry and witnesses said warplanes struck targets in Jabaliya in the north, Gaza City and in the centre of the Palestinian enclave.

Witnesses also reported artillery shelling east and north of Gaza City.

The Israeli army said it targeted “terror sites” and that Palestinian militants fired 33 rockets at the Jewish state, wounding a civilian and a soldier in the south.

Netanyahu ordered the military to retaliate “forcefully to the Hamas breach of the ceasefire,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

But efforts to find a longer-term ceasefire in Cairo are ongoing.

The Palestinian delegation remains in Egypt, and although the Israeli delegates returned to Israel on Friday morning, the team has been shuttling back and forth repeatedly in recent days.

Hamas has not claimed responsibility for any of Friday’s rocket attacks. Claims instead came from rival armed factions.

In Gaza, some families who had returned home during the truce trickled back to shelter at UN-run schools.

At one school in Al-Tuffah in Gaza City, hundreds of refugees were seen living in classrooms, laundry hanging off balconies and a scrum of people queing for UN food handouts

“Of course we’re all scared, I’m scared, my children are scared, my wife is scared,” Abdullah Abdullah, 33, told AFP at the school.

“I’m afraid because the schools were targeted, because young people died, women and children,” he said, referring to UN schools that were hit before the truce.

Israel launched an air campaign on July 8, followed by a ground offensive designed to destroy Hamas’s arsenal of rockets and its network of tunnels stretching underground to Israel.

“We will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel,” said army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner.

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