Israeli strikes kill 4 in Gaza

GAZA CITY — Tensions soared around Gaza on Wednesday after Israeli air raids killed four militants and Palestinian armed groups fired 68 rockets at southern Israel, seriously wounding two people.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 25 Oct 2012, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 3:14 PM

It was the biggest surge in cross-border violence since June, and prompted both Israel and Gaza militant groups to vow they would not allow the attacks to go unanswered.

The latest escalation began on Tuesday evening, shortly after the end of a high-profile visit to Gaza by the Amir of Qatar, when militants fired six rockets at southern Israel.

Israel immediately carried out twin air strikes over northern Gaza, killing two Hamas militants and injured another seven people, medics said, sparking more rocket fire in response.

Another Israeli raid early on Wednesday killed a third militant and injured another near the southern city of Rafah, medics said.

During the morning, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry also said another militant who had been seriously wounded in the late-night air strikes had died of his injuries.

Updated figures from the Israeli military issued around midday showed 68 rockets had been fired at Israel since midnight (2200 GMT), leaving six people injured, two seriously and four lightly.

Police confirmed that two Thai nationals working in the fields near the southern Gaza border were “seriously to critically wounded” while a third sustained light injuries.

The other injured were all Israelis.

The military also said its Iron Dome anti-missile system had brought down seven rockets fired towards the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.

Hamas militants and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, but did not specify how many projectiles they had fired.

Israel “must strengthen its deterrence against Hamas by attacking the heads of this terrorist organisation or by destabilising its rule in the Gaza Strip,” deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon told public radio.

In Gaza City, Hamas also expressed anger over the spike in violence, with spokesman Fawzi Barhum saying: “The occupation is responsible for every drop of blood in this aggressive escalation.”

Gaza’s Hamas-run health authority said the early-morning strike on Rafah killed 23-year-old Mohammed Al Sheikh, with the PRC confirming he was one of their militants.

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