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.

 

Libyan court sentences Kadhafi son to death in absentia

Two Bahrain police killed in 'terror' attack

Syrian army, Kurds push IS out of Hasakeh

Air raids and clashes shatter Yemen truce

Algeria bans football clubs from hiring foreign players

Kuwait sentences 4 Egyptians to death for murder

Turkish sergeant shot dead by Kurdish militant

Netanyahu: Iran a 'formidable' danger to Europe

Iran's conservative media slams French FM over export of tainted blood

NATO stands with Turkey in face of 'terrorism'

Iran urged to free Washington Post journalist

Mogherini due in Iran for nuclear deal talks

Erdogan: No peace process with Kurds amid attacks

Saudi FM denounces 'aggressive' Iran statements

Two suspected jihadists in Cairo raid

Saudi king supports Turkish military action

Morocco media boss to pay defamation damages for transport minister

Abbas vs. Dahlan: Rumblings in Ramallah raise questions on Palestinian politics

Iraq Shiite chief sees no change in Turkey stance on IS

Coalition jets accidentally hit pro-government Yemen forces

ISIS on agenda as Cameron leads trade mission to Southeast Asia

PKK 'never respected' peace process

Arab ministers to meet after Jerusalem clashes

US joins forces with Turkey: Agreement to forge 'ISIS-free zone' in Syria

Ahead of emergency meeting, Turkey ‘has not asked’ for NATO help

Obama vows to keep up pressure on Somalia's Shebab

EU foreign chief due in Saudi Arabia for talks on Iran, Yemen

Kurds cut key jihadist supply route in northern Syria

Turkey could "change the balance" in Syria

Rebel fire kills Syrian reporter in Damascus

Turkish tanks shell Kurdish-held Syria village

Saudi-led coalition suspends Yemen air war

13 killed in Mogadishu hotel car bomb attack

Bomb blast kills at least six people in Somalia capital

Death toll from Nile boat crash rises to 36

Pro-Hadi forces battle retreating rebels in south Yemen

Iraq forces retake university campus on edge of Ramadi

Egypt extends state of emergency in parts of Sinai Peninsula

Clashes erupt as Israel security forces raid Al-Aqsa mosque compound

Fatigue, but not defeat: Syria army faces manpower shortage

Fragile truce in danger as Turkey blames PKK for deadly attack

Turkey bombs IS in Syria, vows to keep fighting

Syrian opposition groups agree: Assad must go

Iran FM to visit Gulf, Iraq

'No progress' in Libya search for abducted Italians