Israeli warplanes bombed the Gaza Strip for the eighth night in a row after claiming Palestinians fired a rocket at southern Israel.
The latest attacks came after Israel warned Hamas – the group that rules the Gaza Strip – that it was risking “war” by failing to prevent incendiary balloons from being launched across the border.
Hamas security sources said Israeli fighter jets and drones hit several facilities belonging to the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the movement.
Israeli army airstrikes and artillery attacks severely damaged security posts and injured several people, sources said. No deaths have been reported.
My only contact with my family in Gaza is a small WhatsApp group where we share news, food photos and chats. In the last few hours, all I’ve read there is news about the constant Israeli attacks. “It was like an earthquake,” my sister commented upon hearing a stroke.
– Malaka (@MalakaShwaikh) 18 août 2020
In a statement issued shortly before midnight (9:00 p.m. GMT), the IDF said that “fighter jets and [other] planes hit other Hamas military targets in the Gaza Strip.
“Earlier this evening a rocket was fired and during the day explosive and incendiary balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” he said. “During the strike, a military complex belonging to one of the special groups of the Hamas terrorist organization was hit. ”
Egyptian security officials shuttled between the two sides in a bid to end the outbreak, which has seen more than a week of rocket and balloon attacks from Gaza and late-night Israeli retaliation .
‘Not a game’
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a warning to Hamas during a visit to firefighters in the region, who said they had been called on Tuesday to 40 fires caused by Palestinian fire balloons.
“Terrorism using kites and incendiary balloons is terrorism like any other,” Rivlin told them, according to a statement from his office.
“Hamas must know that this is not a game. The time will come when they will have to decide… If they want war, they will get war,” said Rivlin, whose post is largely ceremonial.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.
A Hamas source told the AFP news agency that talks were held with an Egyptian delegation in Gaza on Monday before it left the territory for meetings with the Israelis and the West Bank-based Occupied Palestinian Authority.
The Egyptian delegation was due to return to Gaza after the conclusion of the talks, the source added.
A power cut can affect the health center
Israel banned fuel imports into Gaza on August 12 as part of punitive measures against launching incendiary balloons from the Strip, banned fishing off the coast of Gaza, and closed the Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) – interrupting fuel deliveries to the territory’s only power station.
Energy was insufficient even before the shutdown, with consumers having access to electricity for only eight hours a day. This will only last four hours a day using electricity supplied by the Israeli grid.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Wednesday that shutting down Gaza’s only power plant would create problems in the health sector.
The ICRC said on Facebook that reducing the daily electricity supply from eight hours to three or four hours has increased the burden on hospitals, which are already functioning precariously in Gaza.
Stressing that the power cut will make it difficult for people to access water, he said environmental problems could also arise.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been paralyzed by an Israeli blockade which has deprived its approximately two million inhabitants of vital goods, including food, fuel and medicine.