First Published: 2012-11-13


Gaza militants, Israel trade fire: Is another war looming?


Israel launches three air strikes on Gaza; militants fire rocket into southern Israel, hours after ceasefire talk.


Middle East Online

Truce, violence, then another truce

JERUSALEM - Israel launched three air strikes on the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, and militants fired a rocket into southern Israel, hours after Gaza groups said they were ready for a ceasefire with Israel.

The air raids hit an uninhabited area to the west of Gaza City, without causing any casualties, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

In a statement, the Israeli army said the strikes targeted a weapons facility and two rocket launch sites.

The raids came after renewed rocket fire on Monday, with militants firing at least 15 missiles into Israel, the army said, adding another four were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

On Tuesday morning, an additional rocket was fired, an army spokeswoman said, with Israeli media reporting it was a Grad missile that landed near the town of Ashdod, south of Tel Aviv.

Despite the continued fire, the latest rocket fire represented a significant drop from the peak of a flare-up between Saturday and Sunday night.

Dozens of rockets were fired into southern Israel during that period, injuring four, with Israel carrying out air strikes, shelling and artillery fire that left six Palestinians dead by Sunday morning, four civilians and two militants.

On Monday, Palestinian health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said a seventh Palestinian, 20-year-old Mohammed Ziad, had died of wounds sustained on Saturday during Israeli shelling.

After a day of bellicose rhetoric from Israeli leaders, officials sounded a slightly more cautious tone on Tuesday.

"I don't think it will be necessary to enter the Gaza Strip," former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told Israeli military radio.

"The army has at its disposal a series of measures that it has not yet used, it can raise the level of its response without resorting to a ground operation."

And on Monday night, the main Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, said they were ready for a ceasefire if Israel "stops its aggression" against the territory.

"The Islamic and nationalist movement confirm that the response of the resistance depends on whether the Zionist aggression against our people is continued," they said at a Gaza City news conference.

The statement came after Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned on Monday that efforts to stamp out rocket fire would intensify.

"These are very important days... in light of the ongoing activity against Hamas and terror organisations in Gaza, which is likely to intensify and expand," he said.

The latest flare-up, the second in less than a month, began Saturday evening, when militants fired an anti-tank missile at an army jeep, injuring four soldiers.

The Israeli military hit back, killing a total of seven Palestinians, and wounding more than 30.

The violence, which comes amid an Israeli election campaign, has raised the spectre of a broader Israeli military campaign similar to its 22-day Operation Cast Lead, launched in December 2008.

That campaign claimed the lives of 1,400 Palestinians -- half of them civilians -- and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers.


Assad warns Russia failure may result in ‘destruction’ of whole Middle East

Tunisia President in Egypt for talks on regional issues

In rare step, Israel bars Palestinians from Jerusalem Old City

UAE to invest $35 billion in clean energy by 2021

Sohaib El Oussani reveals backstage of Europe Orient Documentary Film in Asilah

Tunisia joins anti-ISIS coalition to ‘obtain information’

ISIS gunmen shoot dead two Egypt policemen in Sinai

Trump prefers to 'sit back' and see what happens in Syria

Police arrest suspected ISIS recruiters in Spain, Morocco

Turkey, EU strike plan to stem flow of migrants

Iran nuclear review panel gives conditional nod to flawed deal

Erdogan urges Putin to reconsider air campaign in Syria

Iran expels Bahrain envoy in apparent retaliation

First hajj stampede bodies arrive in Iran from Saudi Arabia

US urges Libya rivals to move forward with peace deal

Israeli fire wounds at least 10 Palestinians in West Bank

UAE holds election for advisory council

Erdogan faces tough talks in meeting with EU leaders

Russia airstrikes target ISIS infrastructure facilities in Syria

Powers condemn targeting of Syrian opposition by Russia

Turkey accuses Russia of hitting Syria rebels to bolster Assad

Palestinians kill Israeli couple in West Bank shooting

Russia again strikes Assad regime's foes

Iran backs Russian military strategy in Syria

S&P: Gulf banks' net earnings set to slide

Russia confirms new air strikes on targets in Syria

12 killed in Ankara bus stop crash

Syrians, Afghans clash in German refugee centre

South Sudan's peace deal means little in Koch swamps

Trump: If I’m elected, Syrians go back home!

Iran says 464 dead in Saudi hajj stampede

Saudi, Iran agree to repatriate dead pilgrims

Abbas: Palestinians no longer feel bound by past agreements with Israel

Russia, US to hold ‘de-confliction’ talks on Syria

Three conditions as France voices concern over Russia involvement in Syria

Iraq Kurdish forces recapture land from ISIS jihadists

Tunisia buries Sousse gunman under strict security cordon

Iran diplomat missing after hajj stampede

Six days after hajj tragedy, Iran-Saudi tensions escalate

For first time in history, Palestinians to raise flag at UN

Finland freezes asylum decisions for Iraq, Somalia refugees

UK Labour Party ready to support Syria airstrikes, with conditions

Iran Foreign Minister under fire over ‘Obama handshake’

Parliamentary and religious support as Russia launches airstrikes in Syria

Assad regime strikes kill 27 civilians in central Syria