Gaza (GPA) – Israel struck more than 150 locations in Gaza Wednesday night through Thursday morning, despite recent talks to resume a ceasefire to divert from an all-out war.
The ceasefire, brokered between Israel and Hamas and administered by Egypt, would seek to end the joint Egypt-Israeli entity air, land, and sea blockade of coastal Gaza, maintained since 2007 when Hamas was elected to preside over Gaza.
In return, Hamas would have to agree to hand over two captive Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and the bodies of two other soldiers in return.
Hamas, recognizing the agreement, claimed the ceasefire went into effect at 10:45 p.m. Israel denied the report of the agreement, with commitments to “continue acting forcefully” against Gaza following a four hour long IOF security cabinet meeting.
Hamas launched 180 rockets from the Gaza strip, which hit Sderot in southern Israel Wednesday and struck an open area near Beersheba Thursday. This had been the first missile fired from Gaza into enemy occupied territory since 2014.
The rocket that hit Sderot caused the injury of one Thai foreign worker. The missiles that hit Beersheba resulted in no damage, casualties, or injuries.
In response, Israeli warplanes destroyed a cultural center west of Gaza City in the Shati refugee camp on Thursday evening with more than 10 rockets. According to the Palestinian Agency today, 18 citizens were injured in the attack on the Al-Misal Center for Culture and Arts.
According to Haaretz, the Israeli Occupying Force (IOF) is intentionally targeting civilian areas in order to increase pressure on Gazans and put them at odds with Hamas. This is against international humanitarian law, which stipulates that civilians must be protected during armed conflict.
The IOF claimed the building served as the “operational arm” of Hamas.
Earlier today, IDF fighter jets targeted a 5-story building in Rimal, northern Gaza. Hamas‘ interior security forces used the building for military purposes pic.twitter.com/bGbdzDczDy
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 9, 2018
The latest bout of fighting followed an Israeli attack on a Hamas military post in Gaza. This came as a team of high ranking Hamas heads was visiting Gaza to discuss terms of a cease-fire agreement under consideration.
The IOF said that militants had opened fire on their own troops on the border.
Israeli planes also previously targeted a civilian car in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia on Wednesday, injuring two civilians, one of which later died from injuries. Ali al-Ghandour, 30, was laid to rest Thursday in the Jabaliya refugee camp following his death the previous day.
Among those killed early Thursday by an airstrike before dawn that targeted central Gaza were pregnant 23-year old Inas Hamrash and her 1-year old daughter, Bayan.
Video: Facebook – Moneeb Saada
Her husband, Mohammad, remains in critical condition, according to the Gazan Ministry of Health.
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine reaffirmed that the justification of Palestinian resistance to the occupying force’s crimes, stressing that the resistance is “committed to protecting its people” and vowing to appropriately retaliate.
Hamas spokesman Hazim Qassem also condemned the attacks, saying that enemy forces are “deliberately” attacking cultural centers through “barbaric behavior” occurring out of inclinations of “backwardness…that fights culture with fire and gunpowder.”
Since Wednesday, around 20 Palestinians have been injured and 3 killed by IOF airstrikes. Eleven Israelis were injured.
Julia is a Detroit-based freelance journalist, activist, researcher, and chair of local US Palestine Community Network.