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Israeli forces continue airstrikes on Gaza for 4th consecutive day

May 7, 2016 12:54 P.M. (Updated: May 8, 2016 2:22 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma'an) --Israeli airstrikes continued on the southern Gaza Strip in the predawn hours Saturday for the fourth consecutive day, in response to an alleged projectile being shot into southern Israel.

Witnesses told Ma’an Israeli forces launched two airstrikes on open areas east of Khan Yunis. No injuries were reported.

In a statement released Saturday, the Israeli army said the airstrikes targeted two Hamas “terror infrastructures,” in retaliation for a rocket that was reportedly shot from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.

Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner accused Hamas of carrying out the attack in the statement, and demanded that the party be “held accountable.” 

The Israeli aerial offensive on the Gaza Strip began on Wednesday evening as Israeli authorities claimed airstrikes were carried out in response to mortar rounds that were launched from the besieged enclave since Tuesday at Israeli forces conducting “operational defense activities” in search of Hamas-built tunnels near the security fence.

Israeli forces launched several rounds of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip just hours after Palestinian and Israeli shelling was exchanged across the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The latest round of airstrikes on the besieged enclave comes two days after Israeli shelling killed a Palestinian woman on Thursday and injured at least one other Palestinian woman.

Four Palestinians, including three children, were injured earlier in the day on Thursday when Israeli forces carried out several airstrikes across the small Palestinian territory, one of which hit a metal workshop in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood southeast of Gaza City. The strike injured 65-year-old Hassan Hassanien and three children from the family.

Deputy head of Hamas’ politburo Ismail Haniyeh addressed a crowd on Friday at the Abu Salim mosque in the central Gaza Strip, stating that “We do not call for a new war, but we will not allow these incursions or for new realities to be imposed on our people in Gaza. We call for lifting the siege. Enough of this historical injustice suffered by 2 million of our people."

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone” have long been a near-daily occurrence, marked by Israeli bulldozers leveling lands inside Gaza territory while accompanied by Israeli military vehicles.

Haniyeh said incursions inside Gaza territory are a grave violation of the Egypt-sponsored ceasefire reached in the summer of 2014 between Israel and the Gaza Strip following a devastating Israeli offensive on the Palestinian territory..

Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzouq, announced Thursday that Egypt was mediating peace efforts to restore the 2014 truce.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces also announced on Thursday that they
uncovered a tunnel in southern Gaza, which they said may cross under the security fence between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel. It is the second tunnel uncovered since the devastating 2014 Israeli aerial offensive on the besieged enclave.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri urged all parties to accept their responsibilities and end the aggression on Gaza in a press statement released on Wednesday, adding that Israeli crimes would not “break the spirit of the Palestinian people.”

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel for decade. The blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah in control of the occupied West Bank.

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