Gaza rockets hit Israel, army strikes Hamas targets in response

Looks Downfield….Intercepted

Looks Downfield….Intercepted

Israel launched airstrikes early Saturday against several targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets it said were fired towards the country.

The flare-up began after the four Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops on Friday during weekly protests along the border.

Israel in response struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

"After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive ceasefire will begin immediately", spokesman Daoud Shehab said.

Another IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said the rocket strikes were ordered by operatives from the overseas branch of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stationed in Syria and warned Israel may not limit its response to Gaza.

Conricus said Israel would also retaliate against the Syrian government and Iran's Quds Force, and would choose where. Air raid sirens sounded throughout the night in southern Israel, with militants firing some 30 rockets, the military said.

Yesterday, six Palestinians died in renewed clashes on the Gaza-Israel border, while Hamas said Egypt was seeking to negotiate a return to calm.

There were no immediate Israeli reports of casualties or damages from the attacks, the largest in months; two of the projectiles landed within Gaza, the rest landed in open terrain in Israel. It stated that its air force hit more than 80 targets including one used by Hamas as a headquarters, in response to the more than 30 rockets launched into Israel.

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper over the same period.

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The rocket attacks followed the death of four Palestinians participating in a protest along Gaza's perimeter fence with Israel.

The bombing destroyed a site near the Indonesian hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, damaging the medical centre, the Ministry of Health said.

The rocket fire continued for the next 12 hours, until shortly after 10 am Saturday morning, all of it aimed at the Jewish communities in the Gaza Belt region, much of it aimed at residents in Sderot and surrounds.

About two million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, which is in a deep economic crisis.

Israel has called for a cessation to all violence, including both the clashes on the border and the daily arson attacks that have burned large swaths of land in the south, in exchange for certain economic incentives and an easing of the blockade around the coastal enclave, which is imposed by Israel to prevent Hamas importing weapons.

Israel has threatened to expand its strikes to Iranian forces in Syria, which could lead to a confrontation with Iranian and Hezbollah fighters.

A spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister's office would not comment on the reported ceasefire.

Oman's foreign affairs minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said on Saturday the sultanate was offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians come together but was not acting as mediator.

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