UN pictures show what appears to be white phosphorus 'wedges' raining down on one of its compounds in Gaza., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Israeli Strikes Kill Five in Gaza as Rockets Fall on South
By Calev Ben-David and Gwen
Ackerman - Aug 25, 2011
Nine Palestinians were killed in a series of Israeli airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip and one person died of injuries sustained in an earlier raid, a hospital official said.
The deaths raise to 10 the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes against the seaside enclave in the past two days, Adham Abu Selmeya, head of Gaza emergency health services, said by phone. One person in Israel was wounded after more than 18 rockets and mortar shells hit the south of the country, the Israeli army said.
The bloodshed comes after the Islamic Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, said on Aug. 22 that an informal agreement was reached with Israel to end violence that escalated after Aug. 18 attacks near the Red Sea resort of Eilat left eight Israelis dead. At least 14 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes following that attack. One person was killed in rocket attacks.
Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, two militant groups not directly affiliated with Hamas, claimed responsibility for rocket strikes during the past 24 hours, according to e-mailed statements.
“Both Israel and Hamas want to keep the cease-fire, but it seems there some small Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad who are interested in escalating,” said Mukhemer Abu Sada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. Islamic Jihad, which is backed by Iran, “is trying to embarrass Hamas by showing that it’s not the only player in town,” Abu Sada said.
Israeli warplanes struck weapons manufacturing and storage facilities and a smuggling tunnel late yesterday, according to an e-mailed statement from the army spokesman’s office. At least 18 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at southern Israel since yesterday morning and a child was lightly wounded, the army said.
Five people were killed in the overnight strikes and two were killed after dusk, Abu Selmeya said. Two Palestinians were killed in Israeli bombings earlier yesterday and one person later died of his wounds Abu Selmeya said. At least 25 people were wounded, he said.
Three Egyptian border policemen were also killed as part of the Aug. 18 incident. Egypt has threatened to withdraw its ambassador unless it receives an apology from the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel is ready to conduct a joint inquiry into the border incident, Netanyahu’s security adviser Yaakov Amidror said today, according to a text message from the Prime Minister’s Office. Discussions with Egypt are already under way to set up the investigation, according to an Israeli official speaking anonymously, as he wasn’t authorized to speak on record.
Hamas ousted forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction in 2007 to gain control of Gaza after winning parliamentary elections the year before. A three-week operation that Israel began in December 2008 to halt rocket fire from Gaza left more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union.
To contact the reporters on this story: Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem at firstname.lastname@example.org; Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at firstname.lastname@example.org.