JERUSALEM — Violence erupted at the Gaza border Friday after the territory’s militant Islamic Hamas rulers and Israel appeared to be honoring a cease-fire that ended two days of intense violence amid efforts by neighboring Egypt to negotiate between the two sides.
Israel’s military said no rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel overnight and it conducted no airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas targets. Israel’s government hasn’t confirmed the truce.
On Friday evening, however, two Palestinians, including a paramedic, were shot and killed by Israeli fire at a Hamas-led protest along the border, Gaza’s Health Ministry said. The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the deaths.
The military said a tank fired shells at a Hamas positon after Palestinians threw explosive devices and a grenade at forces stationed near the border.
It was not immediately clear whether the Hamas protests at the border were included in cease-fire negotiations.
Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV channel reported late Thursday that the Egyptian-brokered deal took hold “on the basis of mutual calm.” It was at least the third such truce in recent weeks.
But the deal did not seem to address the deeper issues that have prevented the bitter enemies from reaching a longer cease-fire arrangement.
Gaza militants fired some 200 rockets at Israel and the Israeli military carried out a similar number of airstrikes in Gaza in the latest round of violence this week.
Also on Friday, the Israeli military lifted restrictive recommendations for residents of some areas in southern Israel that it had set amid the Palestinian bombing, including suggestions to avoid open areas and beaches. “Following a security assessment,” residents can resume their daily routine, the military said.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007. In this week’s fighting, the Palestinian Health Ministry said three Palestinians were killed. Israeli officials said seven people were wounded by rocket or mortar fire on the Israeli side.
Israel and Hamas have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks after four months of violence along Gaza’s border.
Hamas has led weekly border protests aimed in part at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas took control of Gaza. Large turnout at the protests has also been driven by widespread desperation in Gaza, amid worsening conditions linked to the blockade. Power is on for just a few hours a day, unemployment has sky-rocketed and poverty is widening.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said Abdullah al-Qutati, …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News