Israel bombs Gaza Strip after rocket fire blamed on Hamas

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An explosion in Gaza during a strike by Israeli forces on January 27.

Israel carried out strikes on the Gaza Strip on Friday (January 27th) in response to rocket fire attributed to Hamas, after Israeli operations that killed ten Palestinians the day before in the West Bank. The Israeli army announced that it had carried out at least two rounds of strikes. No casualties were reported. The explosions particularly affected Gaza City, noted journalists from Agence France-Presse. Hamas’ military wing claimed to have responded with anti-aircraft batteries and surface-to-air missiles.

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Shortly after midnight Thursday night, two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory, according to witnesses and local security sources. Both shots were intercepted by the air defense system, an Israeli army spokesman said.

At least 30 Palestinians killed in 2023

Demonstration against the Israeli army in Jenin, in the West Bank, on January 26.

On Thursday, nine Palestinians were killed in Jenin in a raid, described by the Israeli army as an operation against Islamist activists in the refugee camp of this city in the northern West Bank. The United Nations has not recorded such a high death toll in a single Israeli operation in the West Bank since 2005. A tenth Palestinian was killed Thursday in Al-Ram, near Ramallah, the Israeli health ministry said.

Thursday’s deaths bring to 30 the number of Palestinians, civilians or members of armed groups, killed since the beginning of the year in violence with Israeli forces or civilians. The Palestinian Authority has denounced a “massacre” and announced the end of security cooperation with Israel, a first since 2020.

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The US State Department said it regretted the decision, judging “very important that the parties maintain or even deepen their security coordination”. The head of the American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, must go Monday and Tuesday to Israel and the West Bank to insist, according to Washington, on “the urgent need to take de-escalation measures”.

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“Since the beginning of the year, we continue to observe the high levels of violence and the negative trends that have characterized 2022”regretted the envoy of the United Nations (UN) for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, judging “essential to immediately reduce tensions”. Israel “don’t look for escalation” but get ready “to all scenarios”said Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to a press release. “The resistance is everywhere and ready for the next clash”commented for his part Tariq Salmi, spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, in a press release.

According to the Israeli army, the raid in the Jenin camp was a “counter-terrorism operation” targeting members of the Islamic Jihad organization, who Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said were planning an attack in Israel. Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila accused the soldiers of firing tear gas inside the pediatric unit of the local hospital, which the army denied.

The World with AFP

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