Israel has carried out fresh air raids on the Gaza Strip in violation of a ceasefire that ended a flare-up marked by dozens of Palestinians killed in bombings and hundreds of rockets launched at Israeli cities.
The Al Aqsa TV channel said Israeli warplanes hit an outpost belonging to Hamas in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, and a naval police compound in Gaza City early on Saturday, leaving no casualties.
Sirens sounded in the middle of the night in Beersheba, the largest city in southern Israel some 35 km from the Gaza fence, warning of incoming fire.
Israel’s emergency service said it was treating five people for anxiety and four others who were injured while running to shelters.
The fresh fighting came two days after Israel accepted Palestinian resistance movement Islamic Jihad’s preconditions for ceasefire.
The worst fighting in months was triggered on Tuesday when Israel assassinated a top commander from Islamic Jihad.
Gaza medical officials said 34 Palestinians had been killed in the two days of bombings by Israeli warplanes, almost half of them civilians.
Family of eight, face of Israeli killings
Eight members of the same family, including five children, were killed in an airstrike Wednesday night. The Israeli military said it assessed that the building in the Dayr al-Balah neighborhood in Gaza was empty.
The family’s killing sparked criticisms from Palestinian officials and citizens as well as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov.
“There is no justification to attacking civilians in Gaza, or elsewhere! Such a tragedy! My heartfelt condolences to the family of al-Sawarkah & I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. I call on Israel to move swiftly with its investigation,” Mladenov tweeted.
A neighbor told Haaretz that the family had lived in the building for “over 20 years,” adding that they were “known as simple people, living in shacks and making their living off herding and some agriculture, nothing beyond that. They … didn’t come here recently or were moved here by anyone.”
“This was a very simple, poor family, who lived from hand to mouth in a tin shack, with no water or electricity,” another neighbor said. “They lived of herding sheep and were known as simple, poor people. Is this the way the head of a rocket unit or a senior Islamic Jihad officer lives?”
Islamic Jihad claims victory
Islamic Jihad retaliated with a salvo of missiles, firing over 450 rockets and mortar shells into Israeli towns and cities as far as Tel Aviv, which killed at least one and injured dozens and forced Israel to submit to a ceasefire.
On Thursday morning, Islamic Jihad said it had set conditions on accepting the ceasefire, which was mediated by Egypt and the UN, and that Israel had agreed on the conditions.
According to Khader Habib, a senior leader in Islamic Jihad, Israel had agreed to immediately halt its attacks on Gaza, including airstrikes and targeted killings, and cease to use live ammunition against protesters in the Palestinian enclave.
“The Palestinian resistance achieved a great victory as it had a pledge from Israel to stop its air strikes, assassinations and using live ammunition against Gaza protesters,” Habib told the Middle East Eye.
“The Palestinian resistance caused much harm to the Israeli occupation. Israel had a lesson that targeting Palestinian leaders will have destructive consequences.