Israel hit by Hamas rockets after covert raid on Gaza

12 Novembre, 2018, 21:57 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Fire and smoke billow following Israeli air strikes targeting Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt

Palestinian militants in Gaza have launched dozens of rocket attacks and Israeli fighter jets have bombed sites across the strip in a round of intense fighting triggered by a botched Israeli special forces raid that left eight people dead.

IDF said that at least 200 launches were identified, with about 60 interceptions by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.

It also said an Israeli bus was hit by fire from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli police said a rocket hit a house in Netivot, another southern Israeli town.

In an apparent attempt to defuse tensions, Israel's chief military spokesman said the special forces had not been dispatched to assassinate Hamas commanders, a tactic that led to wider conflict in the past and which has largely been abandoned.

Israel had stressed its covert operation on Sunday was an intelligence-gathering mission and "not an assassination or abduction", but Hamas strongly denounced it and vowed revenge.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris, where he attended World War One commemorations with other world leaders.

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"The joint command of Palestinian factions announce the beginning of bombardments of the enemy's settlements with scores of rockets", the Ezzedine al Qassam Brigades group said in a statement.

A pursuit ensued and witnesses said Israeli aircraft fired more than 40 missiles into the area.

On the Israeli side of the border, residents said they had stayed close to shelters throughout the night.

Before the flare-up, Netanyahu had defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer the cash to Gaza despite criticism from within his own government over the move, saying he wanted to avoid a war if it was not necessary.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008 and recent unrest has raised fears of a fourth.

Violence has flared frequently on the frontier since Palestinians began weekly protests in March.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that time. Israel responded to the movement with lethal fire, killing about 170 demonstrators and injuring thousands more.

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