Israel-Gaza border falls quiet after botched Israeli operation

Israeli soldiers stand near the southern Israel-Gaza border on Monday, November 12. (AP)
Updated 12 November 2018
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Israel-Gaza border falls quiet after botched Israeli operation

  • Palestinians fired 17 rockets into southern Israel late on Sunday
  • Violence has flared regularly along the Israel-Gaza border since Palestinians began protests there on March 30

GAZA/JERUSALEM: The Israel-Gaza border fell quiet on Monday after a botched Israeli undercover operation in the Gaza Strip led to fighting that killed a Hamas commander, six other Palestinian militants and an Israeli colonel.
Palestinians fired 17 rockets into southern Israel late on Sunday in response to the incursion and air strikes, which Hamas, the dominant armed group in Gaza, said were intended to cover the retreat of a car used by the Israeli troops.
There were no reports of injuries or damage in Israel, but the military said a lieutenant-colonel, identified only as “M”, had been killed in the raid and another officer wounded.
No new rocket launches were reported on Monday morning.
Violence has flared regularly along the Israel-Gaza border since Palestinians began protests there on March 30 to demand rights to land lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its creation.
Israeli gunfire has killed more than 220 Palestinians since the start of the demonstrations, which have included breaches of Israel’s border fence.
Hamas said that during Sunday’s fighting, assailants in a passing vehicle opened fire on a group of its armed men, killing one of its local commanders, Nour Baraka.
A pursuit ensued and witnesses said Israeli aircraft fired more than 40 missiles into the area. Palestinian officials said that in addition to Baraka, five other Hamas men and a member of the Popular Resistance Committees were killed.
In an apparent attempt to defuse tensions, Israel’s chief military spokesman said the special forces had not been dispatched to assassinate Hamas commanders, a tactic that led to wider conflict in the past and which has largely been abandoned.
The spokesman, Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis, told Army Radio that covert missions were mounted frequently, comments that suggested the Israeli force may have been gathering intelligence.
“During the operation, it found itself in a very complex situation, faced by enemy forces. The (Israeli) force, including Lieutenant-Colonel M., kept its cool, returned fire and evacuated itself together with the (help of the) air force back into Israel,” Manelis said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris, where he attended World War One commemorations with other world leaders. He returned home early on Monday.


Israel launches strikes on Hamas in Gaza after rocket

Updated 5 min 22 sec ago
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Israel launches strikes on Hamas in Gaza after rocket

GAZA: Israel’s military launched strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Monday, the army and witnesses said, hours after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave hit a house and wounded seven Israelis.
Witnesses and a security source in Gaza told AFP there had been at least two strikes on a site belonging to Hamas’s military wing in the west of the Gaza Strip.
Details were not yet clear on the strikes.
Israel’s military said in a statement it “has begun striking Hamas terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip.”
The strikes began around the same time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US President Donald Trump in Washington.
Netanyahu had earlier vowed a strong response to the rocket that hit a house north of Tel Aviv in a rare long-distance strike.
The house was destroyed and seven Israelis were lightly wounded from burns and shrapnel.
The flare-up comes at a highly sensitive time for Israel, which holds elections on April 9.
Israel blamed Hamas for the rocket, but a Hamas source denied the Islamist movement, which rules the Palestinian enclave, was behind it.
Netanyahu planned to cut short his Washington visit due to the security situation and return home after meeting Trump.