Israeli military says it has started bombing Gaza after rocket strike




 

Israel's military said it had begun striking "Hamas terror targets" across the Gaza Strip, retaliating for an earlier rocket attack that wounded seven people in a neighbourhood north of Tel Aviv.

"The [Israeli Defense Forces] has begun striking Hamas terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip," the army said in a statement.

Israel's military said its fighter jets attacked multiple targets across the strip, including a five-story building in central Gaza City it said was a Hamas Interior Security office.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to the US on Monday following the rocket attack and had vowed to "respond forcefully". The army said later it was reinforcing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up reserves.

"Israel will not tolerate this. I will not tolerate it," Netanyahu said in the White House standing alongside Donald Trump. "As we speak, Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression."

Trump described the Hamas rocket attack as "horrific" and added: "The US recognises Israel's absolute right to defend itself."

Gaza's Hamas leaders went into hiding, fearing widespread airstrikes on their bases and other sites in the enclave - the usual response after regular rocket launches during the past year.

Hamas and Israel have fought three conflicts in the past decade, and battled in dozens of minor flare-ups since the last one in 2014. With little to show for any previous violence, neither side has expressed interest in full-fledged war.

However, the strike obliterated the home of a British-Israeli family and comes during a period of heightened tension in Israel and the Palestinian territories. With a general election two weeks away, Netanyahu is under pressure from political opponents to hit back hard against militants, even as he as he has been counseled by military advisers of the futility of a fresh conflict.

With opinion polls showing Netanyahu running neck and neck with his main opponent, Benny Gantz, the Israeli leader has sought to dismiss him as a "leftist" who is weak on security issues.

Separately, this weekend marks the anniversary of a year-long protest movement along Israel's frontier that its troops have responded to with lethal force, killing more than 180 people and shooting 6,000 others. Hamas, which backs the rallies, is expected to call for thousands to attend, while Israel has said it will continue its live fire policy against what it calls "violent riots".

Those protests were intended, in part, to pressure Israel and Egypt to lighten a punishing decade-long blockade on the 140 sq mile territory that has led to a humanitarian crisis and virtually imprisoned much of the population. But neither Israel nor Egypt have significantly changed their policy.

Meanwhile, Hamas faces its own internal dissent against recent tax hikes and dire living conditions, and has forcefully suppressed local demonstrations during the past week.

An Israeli military spokesperson said Monday's rocket had a range of 75 miles, making it one of the furtherest strikes ever carried out by militants in Gaza.

"I have a simple message for Israel's enemies," Netanyahu said. "We will do whatever we must to to defend our people, and defend our state. After this meeting I will return home ahead of schedule, to lead the people of Israel, and the soldiers of Israel."

As a result of Netanyahu's early return home, a dinner with Trump was cancelled as well as Netanyahu's scheduled address to Aipac, the pro-Israel US lobby group.

In an apparent attempt to de-escalate the situation a Hamas official, speaking to the Agence France-Presse news agency on condition of anonymity, denied the group was behind the rocket launch, and even suggested the projected was automatically fired by mistake following "bad weather".

The prime minister's visit to Washington had been seen as an attempt to highlight his close and fruitful relationship with Trump before the election. Trump on Monday signed a proclamation formally recognising Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a plateau Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

The proclamation declared the Golan Heights to be a unique case for security reasons.

"Today, aggressive acts by Iran and terrorist groups, including Hizballah, in southern Syria continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks on Israel," the document stated. "Any possible future peace agreement in the region must account for Israel's need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats. Based on these unique circumstances, it is therefore appropriate to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights."

"This was a long time in the making. It should have taken place many decades ago," Trump said.

Netanyahu said it was a "truly a historic day", that "translates our military victory into a diplomatic victory". He said that the Golan was "invaluable to our defences" and claimed that Israel had taken the territory "in a just war of self-defence". He added: "The Jewish people have roots in the Golan goes back thousands of years."

The Syrian foreign ministry called the US proclamation a "blatant aggression" on its own sovereignty and territorial integrity. The ministry said the US move represents the "highest level of contempt for international legitimacy".

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told secretary of state Mike Pompeo that the US intention to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan would result in a violation of international law.

UN security council resolutions have opposed the annexation of land acquired by force, and rejected as "null and void" Israeli attempts to annex the area unilaterally.


COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump
Trump 'Go Back' Tweets at Progressive Congresswomen Spark Furor

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump sparked a furor on Sunday by suggesting that four progressive female Democratic lawmakers, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, should return to the "broken and crime infested places from which they came."Democrats said the president was being racist and divisive. Three of the four women Trump was apparently referencing were born in the U.S.; none are white. The comments, made in a three-tweet string early Sunday, seem aimed at first-term Representatives Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. "The Squad," as the quartet is known, has been engaged in an intraparty...

French President Emmanuel Macron announces creation of French space force
French President Emmanuel Macron announces creation of French space force

On the eve of Bastille Day celebrations, Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a French space force command within the French air force.

There are 2 dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, but it
There are 2 dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, but it's really only a 5 person race

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg are the only 2020 candidates who have consistently polled viably.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump and an eco legacy not his own
AP FACT CHECK: Trump and an eco legacy not his own

President Donald Trump and his aides this past week celebrated an environmental legacy that is not theirs to claim. In large measure, the progress they cited pre-dates Trump's presidency. Trump's veterans affairs chief cited improvements in waiting times and quality of care at VA health centers

Trump says nationwide immigration arrests to begin Sunday
Trump says nationwide immigration arrests to begin Sunday

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said efforts to deport families with orders to leave the country will continue after an upcoming national sweep that President Donald Trump said would start Sunday. Matthew Albence, the agency's acting director, said targets were on an "accelerated docket" of immigration court cases for predominantly Central Americans who recently arrived at the U.S. border in unprecedented numbers. "This family operation is nothing new," Albence told The Associated Press.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.