Israel and militants exchanged rocket salvos in the worst fighting in a year -Dlight News

Israel and militants exchanged rocket salvos in the worst fighting in a year

Israeli and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired renewed rocket salvos at each other on Saturday, as fighting entered a fifth day despite efforts by Egypt to mediate a ceasefire.

The Israeli military said on Saturday it had bombed 325 sites in the besieged coastal enclave since clashes began, while militants fired 1,099 rockets and mortars at Israel in the worst round of violence for nearly a year.

Egyptian officials have been trying to negotiate a cease-fire since Wednesday, but talks broke down after Israel rejected demands from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group responsible for the rocket fire that it stop targeted killings of its leadership.

“As long as the killings and the bombing of apartments and safe houses continue, the Palestinian resistance will continue to launch its rockets,” the armed wing of Islamic Jihad said on Saturday.

“The resistance has prepared itself for months of confrontation.”

Hamas, the more powerful militant group that controls Gaza and which fought an 11-day war with Israel in 2021, has stayed out of the conflict.

Israel and militants periodically exchange rocket fire in Israel and Gaza, with Israeli forces conducting almost nightly raids in the occupied West Bank following attacks by Palestinians on Israelis.

The latest round of violence erupted on Tuesday when Israel killed 15 people, including eight women and children, in an air strike targeting three senior members of Islamic Jihad, which it said were involved in rocket fire from the Strip a week earlier.

In the days since, a total of 33 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 9 women and children, according to the local health ministry, and 147 people have been injured. Israel said it had killed at least six senior Islamic Jihad officers.

In Israel, a woman was killed Thursday when a rocket hit an apartment block in the city of Rehovot. According to Israeli paramedics, five more people were injured in the strike.

Rocket salvos have forced people into bomb shelters in Israel’s south, as well as set off warning sirens in the commercial heart of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which the militants targeted in a rare move on Friday.

The fighting has also exacerbated dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza, home to more than two million Palestinians, whose economy has been devastated by a 16-year blockade by Israel and Egypt.

The UN humanitarian affairs agency OCHA warned on Friday that 417 people in the Strip were internally displaced during the fighting, mainly due to the destruction of their homes.

It added that the power outages plaguing the enclave had also worsened, cutting electricity supplies to less than 12 hours a day in many parts of Gaza.

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