Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Israel rejects European Union plan to link Gaza and West Bank

Israel rejects European Union plan to link Gaza and West Bank

At least six Palestinians were reported injured by the Hamas-run health ministry.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said on Wednesday he was "deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today's mutiple rockets fired towards communities in southern Israel".

Eight others were also injured in the attacks, the ministry said in a statement.

Hamas' armed wing on Tuesday identified the dead Palestinians as Ahmed Murjan and Abdel-Hafez al-Silawi, both 23 years old, and confirmed they were members of the group.

Smoke plumes could be seen rising from Gaza City following the military's announcement it was targeting "terror sites in the Gaza Strip".

Hamas's military wing said it was behind the rocket attacks.

The Israeli army earlier on Wednesday said Palestinians fired at least 36 rockets across the border.

Earlier on Wednesday, before the rocket fire, a Hamas official said these negotiations were in "advanced stages".

The majority hit open areas while 11 were intercepted, it said.

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Israeli television broadcast images of a house and cars reportedly damaged by the rockets in Sderot.

The area where the rockets fell have been closed off by the police as bomb disposal units were called to the scene.

The nearly daily airborne arson attacks have been part of months of weekly border protests led by the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza aimed in part at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after it took control of the territory in 2007.

Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for all fire coming from the long-blockaded coastal territory.

The United Nations condemned the Hamas rocket fire.

The push for a long-term ceasefire agreement follows months of clashes between Israel and Hamas, marked by a surge in cross-border arson attacks, rocket fire, and violent clashes which brought the sides to the brink of a full-scale war in two separate military flare-ups in July.

The Swedish vessel, named "Freedom for Gaza", was intercepted on August 4th and taken to Israel's port Ashdod its organizers said - the second such boat of the "Freedom Flotilla" prevented from reaching Gaza. The IDF later suggested the incident was a misunderstanding, as the tank returned fire in response to the shots fired as part of a ceremony of the al-Qassam Brigades, which were not deliberately aimed at Israeli soldiers, Haaretz reported.

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces - most during weekly protests at which thousands of Palestinians have expressed their support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

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