Israel Strikes Gaza Killing 2 & Injuring Dozens

Did Trump trigger the excuse Israel wanted?

Israel said it targeted sites in Gaza belonging to militant group Hamas in retaliation for  three rocket attacks.

Two militants were killed and at least 25 people injured, including six children, after the Israeli Air Force bombed alleged Hamas targets inside Gaza.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have risen since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The strike comes amid global protests as well as the third ‘day of rage’ across Palestinian territories.

The BBC reports:

Wednesday’s decision reversed decades of US neutrality on one of the most sensitive issues between the two sides.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The diplomatic fallout over Mr Trump’s move has continued, with Palestinian officials saying that President Mahmoud Abbas will refuse to meet US Vice-President Mike Pence later this month.

Egypt’s Coptic Church has also cancelled a planned meeting, saying Mr Trump’s declaration “did not take into account the feelings of millions of Arab people”.

At a security conference in Bahrain, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the Jerusalem announcement was “a gift to radicalism”, Reuters news agency reports.

There have been fresh protests in the West Bank city of Bethlehem and in East Jerusalem.

In other developments:

  • Israel’s air force followed a number of raids on Hamas sites on Friday with more air strikes in the early hours of Saturday, targeting weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse and a military compound, the Israel Defense Forces said
  • Gaza’s Shifa hospital says that two bodies of Palestinians were found under the rubble of a Hamas military site bombed by Israeli planes overnight, bringing the death toll in the past 24 hours to four. Two Palestinians were also killed in clashes with Israeli troops at the Gaza border
  • At least 217 Palestinians were also wounded, Palestinian medics say
  • Of the three rockets fired at Israel, Israel’s military said it had intercepted one with its Iron Dome defence system, one was found on wasteland and another landed in Sderot late on Friday. No casualties were reported

Earlier on Friday, Fathi Hammad, a senior Hamas leader, said anyone seeking to move their embassy to Jerusalem was “an enemy of the Palestinians”.

Speaking before the United Nations on Friday, US ambassador Nikki Haley said the US “recognises the obvious; that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.

She said the US continued to be “committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement”, and accused the UN of bias, saying it “has outrageously been one of the world’s foremost centres of hostility towards Israel”.

“Israel will never be, and never should be, bullied into an agreement by the United Nations or by any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel’s security,” Mrs Haley said.