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Air, rocket strikes push Israel, Gaza into second day of fighting


By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Israel attacked Gaza and Palestinians fired rockets at Israeli towns on Saturday, after an Israeli operation against the Islamic Jihad militant group ended more than a year of relative calm. of the border.

Israel killed one of the group’s top commanders in a surprise daytime airstrike on a high-rise building in Gaza City on Friday, prompting salvos of rocket fire in return.

On Saturday, Israel said it attacked Islamic Jihad militants preparing to launch rockets and militant posts. Additional bombs targeted five houses, witnesses said, sending huge clouds of smoke and debris into the air as explosions rocked Gaza City.

Palestinian militants fired at least 160 rockets across the border, setting off air raid sirens and sending people running to bomb shelters as far away as the central Israeli city of Modi’in, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Islamic Jihad said it had targeted Israel’s main international gateway, Ben Gurion airport, but the rocket fell short near Modi’in, some 20 kilometers away, and the Civil Aviation Authority said the airport was operating as usual with adjusted flight paths.

Most of the missiles were intercepted and there were no reports of serious casualties, according to the Israeli ambulance service.

Efforts by Egypt, the UN and Qatar to end the fighting were underway. Further escalation would largely depend on whether Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, chooses to join the fight.

Israeli strikes have killed 14 Palestinians, including at least four other Islamic Jihad militants and a child, and injured at least 110 people, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Islamic Jihad did not provide precise details on how many of its members had been killed and did not signal an immediate ceasefire. “Now is the time for resistance, not for a truce,” an official with the group told Reuters.

Overnight, the Israeli military said it had detained 19 Islamic Jihad militants in raids in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, while targeting the group’s rocket launch and manufacturing sites in Gaza. (Written by Maayan Lubell, Edited in Spanish by Manuel Farías)




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