Posted Sun 22 Aug 2021 at 12:55am
Israel’s military says its aircraft have struck Hamas sites in Gaza, in an escalation of hostilities after earlier cross-border gunfire seriously injured an Israeli soldier and wounded 41 Palestinians, two of them critically.
- Israel says some Palestinian protesters threw explosives towards troops
- A 13-year-old boy was shot in the head as Israeli soldiers opened fire, Palestinian authorities say
- Israel says its jets then struck four Hamas weapons sites
The injuries came during a Gaza protest organised by the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas and other factions in support of Jerusalem, where Palestinian clashes with Israeli police helped spark an 11-day Israel-Hamas conflict in May.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered near the Strip’s heavily fortified border, where some tried to scale the border fence and others threw explosives towards Israeli troops, the Israeli military said.
“IDF [Israel Defense Forces] troops responded with riot dispersal means, including when necessary live fire,” it said in a statement.
Among the two Palestinians critically injured was a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head, Gaza’s health ministry said.
It described most of the other injuries as moderate, including gun shots to limbs, backs and abdomens.
Cross-border fire from Gaza seriously wounded an Israeli border police soldier, who was taken to hospital for medical treatment, the military said. There was no claim of responsibility for the Gaza gunfire.
In response to the soldier’s shooting, Israeli “fighter jets have struck four weapons storage and manufacturing sites” belonging to Hamas, the military said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Bracing for more hostilities, the military said it had sent additional forces to the Gaza border area. Israeli media reported the military had increased deployment of its Iron Dome anti-missile system.
The violence follows an Israeli announcement of a resumption of Qatari aid to Gaza, a move seen as bolstering a fragile Egyptian-mediated truce which ended the May fighting.A tentative ceasefire has silenced the blasts over Israel and Gaza. But for many, scars remainWith dozens of his family members gone, Mohammad wrestles with what happened the night his life changed forever — the events play over in his mind, an emptiness yawns in his chest. Read more
Just days before that announcement, Gaza militants launched a rocket towards Israel that was shot down by the Iron Dome, in the first such attack since the truce.
Palestinians have also sporadically launched incendiary balloons towards Israel since the fighting, drawing Israeli strikes on Hamas sites.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Saturday’s air strikes showed Israel was “trying to cover up its failure and disappointment in front of the steadfastness of our people and their valiant resistance”.
At least 250 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel were killed in the May conflict, in which Gaza militants fired rockets towards Israeli cities and Israel carried out air strikes across the coastal enclave.
Israel keeps Gaza under a blockade, tightly restricting movement out of the territory, which is home to 2 million Palestinians.
Egypt also maintains restrictions on the enclave. Both cite threats from Hamas for the restrictions.