Home World Israel-Gaza border sees heaviest fighting since 2014 war

Israel-Gaza border sees heaviest fighting since 2014 war

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Israel launched more airstrikes on Gaza on Tuesday as Palestinians kept up rocket fire on Israeli territory in the worst surge of violence since a 2014 war.

The fighting — which has killed six Palestinians, five of them militants, and a civilian in Israel since Monday — threatened to derail efforts by the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar to broker a long-term truce and head off another major conflict.

Hamas, Gaza’s dominant Islamist movement, and other armed factions launched more than 400 rockets or mortar bombs across the border after carrying out a surprise guided-missile attack on Monday on a bus that wounded an Israeli soldier, the Israeli military said.

The salvoes were the fiercest since the 2014 Gaza war between Israel and Gaza militants. Hamas said it was retaliating for a botched Israeli commando raid in Gaza that killed one of its commanders and six other gunmen on Sunday, when an Israeli colonel was also killed.

Sirens rang out in the Israeli port of Ashkelon overnight and in other southern towns into Tuesday morning, sending residents rushing to bomb shelters. Several homes were hit, and the military said Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted more than 100 rockets and mortar bombs.

In aerial attacks on Tuesday, Israel’s military said it struck a rocket-launching squad and fired at several Palestinians infiltrating through Israel’s border fence.

In Gaza, schools, government offices and banks were closed on Tuesday. Classes were also cancelled in Israeli towns near the border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his security cabinet to discuss Israel’s next moves, and the military said it had sent infantry and armoured reinforcements to the Gaza frontier.

A Palestinian official said Egypt and the United Nations had stepped up efforts with Palestinian factions and Israel to end the current round of fighting “and prevent further escalation.”

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