Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed Palestinians, escalates tensions


JERUSALEM (AFP)  Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday killed a 58-year-old man and injured five others, Palestinian health officials said. .

Israeli fighter jets hit targets in Gaza in response to a volley of rockets fired into Israeli territory by Palestinian militants on Tuesday. After sunrise, however, the violence appeared to subside as both sides signaled that they wanted to avoid a large-scale clash.

The exchange erupted when a prominent Palestinian detainee died in Israeli custody after his 87-day hunger strike. The death of Khader Adnan, 45, the leader of Palestinian Islamic jihadists and known for popularizing hunger strikes as a powerful form of activism, has reverberated in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. where he is revered as a national hero. Protests erupted at Israeli military checkpoints and a general strike closed shops across the territory. Palestinians and human rights groups have blamed Israel for his death and prison authorities for medical negligence.

A Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip fired 100 of his rockets in southern Israel late Tuesday, seriously injuring a foreign worker at a construction site. The Israeli military said its fighter jets hit tunnels, weapons factories and military installations of the dominant Hamas militant group in Gaza.

The Israeli attack left shrapnel at his 58-year-old Hasir Mubarak’s home in Gaza City, his son Hatem said. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said a metal shard hit Mubarak in the chest when the roof collapsed, killing him. Mubarak was taken to hospital where he could not be resuscitated.

“We were sleeping soundly at home and we heard a huge explosion from a rocket,” Hatem recalled, as mourners filled the nearby mosque and kissed his father on the forehead. took turns crouching down.

“He was martyred,” he said.

After several hours of quiet time, the Israeli army announced that residents of the southern city would no longer have to remain near the bunkers. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem thanked Palestinian militants for “standing up to Israeli aggression and ending a series of conflicts.”

The UN Special Envoy for the Middle East Tol Wensland said he welcomed “the return of calm” after 12 hours of violence. “If our efforts fail, we risk finding ourselves in the midst of another deadly escalation.

But not everyone welcomed the equanimity. Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gwir has criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for saying the response to rockets from Gaza was weak.

Netanyahu coalition ultranational lawmakers, including Ben-Gvir, had a record number of voters in the November general elections after campaigning on promises to reduce terrorist threats and take a hard line against the Palestinians. won a number of seats. Recent rocket attacks have already prompted calls from right-wing supporters of politicians to keep their promises.

Ben-Gwill’s party, known as the Jewish Power, announced in protest that its members would boycott all parliamentary votes on Wednesday.

Netanyahu hit back at Ben Gubir, saying only the prime minister, defense minister and security forces are tasked with handling “delicate and complex security events” in Israel.

Netanyahu’s Likud party said in a statement: “If Minister Ben-Gubir cannot accept this, he has no need to stay in government.”

The increase in violence comes at a time of heightened tension in the West Bank, occupied under the most right-wing government in Israel’s history. On Wednesday, Israeli security forces demolished the homes of two Palestinian families who carried out a deadly attack on Israelis last fall.