Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Israel, Hamas reach ceasefire; top ministers opposed

Israel, Hamas reach ceasefire; top ministers opposed

Palestinian rebel groups in the Gaza Strip have announced an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel after a severe escalation of violence threatened to descend into full-blown war.

In that 50-day war, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, a lot of them civilians, along with 66 Israeli soldiers and seven civilians in Israel.

The fighting began on Sunday when Palestinians found an Israeli intelligence operation inside Gaza.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon played the Code Red rocket-alert siren during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council Tuesday in an effort to demonstrate what Israelis living in border communities have to contend with when Hamas launches barrages of rockets at Israel.

Kuwait, which represents Arab countries at the council, and Bolivia requested the meeting following the worst flare-up in Gaza since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.

Multiple efforts to reconcile the Palestinian factions have failed, and with an unemployment rate of 53 percent, Mladenov recently warned of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which he said was "imploding".

The Israel Defense Forces have released a video showing an injured woman being pulled from the rubble of a house following a rocket attack by Palestinian militants on Tuesday.

Israel's United Nations envoy Danny Danon said "we will not accept a call for both sides to exercise restraint". A soldier was severely wounded in the attack.

"Within two seconds (after air sirens) we heard a huge boom, we saw our curtains flying in the air, windows (broken), and only after a few minutes when we went out, we realised that the missile had hit the building next to us", said one man who lives near a block of flats hit by a rocket in Ashkelon.

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The Israeli military said its jets struck several "key strategic" Hamas targets in response, including military compounds, rocket launching posts and part of its vast underground tunnel network. The blockade has ravaged Gaza's economy, and Israel refuses to lift it unless Hamas disarms, a demand the militants reject.

The Cabinet said it had ordered the military to "continue operations as needed".

"What happened was like an quake", said Abu Ayman Lemzeni, who lives near the destroyed TV building.

The escalation came despite Netanyahu´s decision to allow Qatar to transfer millions of dollars in aid to Gaza for salaries as well as fuel to ease an electricity shortage.

The Israeli military says it has shot at and captured a Palestinian who approached the Gaza perimeter fence and hurled grenades into Israel.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from forces loyal to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which has been seeking ways to regain power over the small territory.

The government's policy regarding months of ongoing violence on the Gaza border has been a point of contention among ministers, with Bennett and Liberman clashing repeatedly over the matter.

At least 234 Palestinians in Gaza have since been killed by Israeli fire, the majority during protests and clashes.

The southern Israeli city of Ashkelon is just eight miles from Gaza, making it an easy target.

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