Amid spiralling violence that claimed 22 lives in two days, Palestinian Gaza Strip ruler Hamas on Saturday announced an end to the informal ceasefire with Israel.
Hamas’ military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced that it is no longer committed to the Gaza region ceasefire with Israel.
“There is no longer a lull vis-is Israel, in the face of the ongoing massacre that it commits against the Palestinian people without any justification,” the armed faction’s spokesman Abu Obeida said in a statement. Hamas also urged all Gaza factions to “respond to Israel’s crimes.”
Israeli warplanes killed three Palestinians in an airstrike in central Gaza City on Friday, medics said, raising the death toll to 14 in the coastal enclave since a deadly attack in southern Israel on Thursday left 8 Israelis dead.
The latest strike hit a civilian car killing three people from the same family, including a 5-year-old boy and a doctor, Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said, adding that three others were wounded.
Israel has carried out more than a dozen airstrikes across the Gaza Strip following Thursday’s attack for which it has blamed Gaza-based militant group, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), an umbrella organisation of militant factions, although the PRC has denied any involvement.
Gaza based militants have fired a barrage of grad and Qassam rockets on Israel injuring at least eight persons, two critically.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) deployed the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system last evening to intercept rockets bound for the port city of Ashdod and Ashkelon.
However, three Qassam rockets were shot at the western Negev communities overnight. Emergency sirens were sounded, but no injuries or damage was reported.
Large contingents of Israeli police forces arrived at the scene of the rocket attacks and are on alert for additional missiles.
Residents were told to remain in close proximity to bomb shelters.
The IDF spokesman’s office said in a statement that Israeli planes targeted weapon manufacturing centers in central Gaza Strip and two more sites in the north and south in response.
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers,” the statement said, adding that the army “will continue to operate resolutely against anyone who terrorises Israel”.
“The Hamas terrorist organisation is the address, and it bears the responsibility,” it further added.