Hamas' military wing launches at least 30 rockets on Israel

Ahram Online , Friday 22 Aug 2014

Rockets follow the collapse of Egypt-sponsored negotiations and recommencement of Israeli offensive in Gaza

A streak of light is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel August 21, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, fired rockets on Israeli cities, settlements and military sites in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

The rocket attacks came in response to the recommencement of Israel's offensive on the coastal enclave, Egypt's state-run news agency MENA reported.

In a statement published on its website, the Brigades said they fired 30 rockets and mortars on various Israeli lands including the southern city of Ashkelon, Eshkol settlement complex in the Negev desert and Israeli areas close to Gaza's Rafah city.

According to Israel's Yadiot Ahranot, more than 50 rockets were fired into south Israel on Friday, with one landing in Be’er-Sheva – 40 km (25 miles) from Gaza – injuring one man and causing damage.

The newspaper's website said that another rocket landed meters from a preschool.

"As of Friday afternoon, some 56 rockets were fired at Israel, 43 of which managed to hit Israel, while seven were intercepted,” the newspaper said.

Israel and Palestinian factions have blamed each other for the collapse of an Egyptian-sponsored 24-hour truce late on Tuesday, which led to the resumption of armed conflict.

Prior to that, Egypt brokered two 72-hour truce agreements and a five-day ceasefire in a bid to allow more time for negotiations from both sides to reach common ground. However, no Palestinian-Israeli agreement for a ceasefire has been reached so far.

Hamas vowed on Thursday that Israel "will pay the price" for killing three senior commanders of the Brigades at a pre-dawn Israeli airstrike in southern Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the assassination of the men was “an Israeli crime,” that will not "weaken the resistance or break the Palestinian people's determination," said MENA.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy leader of Hamas' political bureau and a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said Wednesday on Facebook that Israeli airstrikes had killed the wife and infant daughter of Mohamed Deif, a commander in the brigades.

Israel's airstrikes on Friday killed four Palestinians in Gaza thus far.

Since the beginning of Israel's offensive on Gaza on 8 July, at least 2,087 Palestinians have lost their lives, most of whom are civilians. On the Israeli side 64 soldiers and 4 civilians have been killed.

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