UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel continue their firefight in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening, despite calls to end hostilities that raise fears of a new military escalation less than a week before the legislative elections Israeli.
The armed Islamist group announced early in the evening, after the UN appeal for an “immediate cessation of rocket fire” from Gaza, the end of its strikes on Israel.
But just over an hour later, and in the wake of the continuing Israeli bombing of Gaza, the Islamic Jihad backed down.
“We have announced the end of our military response to the assassinations committed in Khan Younes (Gaza) and Damascus (Syria) but the enemy did not take note and attacked our base and our fighters,” said the porter. – word of the Abou Hamza group. “This is why we are announcing that we have responded on the basis of a ‘strike for strike’ formula.”
This movement, the second largest Islamist armed group in Gaza after Hamas, which controls the Palestinian enclave, has since Sunday launched about 80 rockets into Israel, according to Israeli authorities.
As a precaution, some 65,000 students were ordered to stay at home on Monday in Israeli cities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, trains have been canceled between the cities of Ashkelon and Beersheba, and several roads are closed in the south of the country. Israeli authorities have announced that schools will remain closed on Tuesday.
The majority of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile shield. According to an AFP journalist, a rocket fell in a children’s park in the city of Sderot without causing injuries because no one was on the scene.
Fighter jets and tanks of the Israeli army bombed movement targets throughout the day and Monday evening across the Gaza Strip, an impoverished enclave home to two million Palestinians.
– Risk of climbing –
Israeli authorities, who have imposed a blockade on Gaza for 13 years, on Monday evening decreed the closure “until further notice” of the Erez crossing points for people and that of Kerem Shalom for goods and announced the complete closure of the maritime area of the Gaza Strip, preventing fishermen from going out to sea.
“Islamic Jihad and Hamas must understand that this cannot last. If they do not stop the strikes completely – and I am not talking about a day or two, but definitely – we will have to go ahead with a major (military) campaign, “warned Netanyahu, who canceled campaign rallies scheduled for Monday evening.
“Netanyahu, the country is on fire!” Replied his electoral rival Benny Gantz, a former army chief who advocates the hard line against armed groups in Gaza. Like Mr. Netanyahu, Benny Gantz canceled an evening event, in his case the celebrations for the first anniversary of his centrist Blue White formation.
– Souvenir of November –
The streak of the past two days began when two Islamic Jihad fighters attempted “to place an explosive device near” the barrier, according to the Israeli army, between Israel and Gaza, and were then shot at by Israeli soldiers.
A military bulldozer recovered the inert body of one of the two killed combatants to bring it back towards the border barrier. A video of the incident, authenticated by AFP, has been continuously circulating on Palestinian social networks and abroad.
In the process, the Islamic Jihad fired the first rockets into Israel, which responded with air strikes against “positions” of this movement in Gaza but also near Damascus, Syria.
Six fighters, including two from the Islamic Jihad, were killed in the strikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Israeli forces are often accused by Damascus of carrying out strikes in neighboring Syria, but they rarely claim bombing in this country, which they accuse of harboring elements which are hostile to it such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iranian Quds Force and the Islamic Jihad.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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