Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Pregnant mother and child killed as conflict between Israel, Hamas escalates

Pregnant mother and child killed as conflict between Israel, Hamas escalates

Hamas is demanding the lifting of an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade that has devastated Gaza's economy, while Israel wants an end to rocket fire, as well as recent border protests and launches of incendiary balloons, and the return of the remains of two dead soldiers and two Israelis believed to be alive and held by Hamas. Most were intercepted or fell on open ground.

Israeli officials said that one woman was seriously injured in a rocket attack in Israel, and 20 other people have also been wounded, although some of those people were admitted for shock.

"She was killed for nothing!"

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinian Enas Khammash 23, and her 18-month-daughter Bayan, during their funeral in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on August 9, 2018.

On Thursday afternoon, Israeli fighter pilots bombed and destroyed a five-story building used as Hamas Internal Security Headquarters, after bombing 180 Hamas terrorist targets overnight.

A Hamas militant was also killed in the strikes and at least 12 others injured, the Health Ministry said.

After four hours of discussion about the escalation in the south and the hard situation in which Israelis there are living, Israel's Ministerial Committee on National Security instructed the IDF to "continue to act with force against terrorist elements". Rocket sirens were still sounding in Israeli neighborhoods on Wednesday evening, while strikes in Gaza continued.

Twenty-four of the slain protesters were minors, the ministry has said. "People were freaking out".

The military says they targeted more than 150 Hamas militant targets in the Gaza strip.

Some analysts suggested Hamas had turned up the violence to demonstrate its strength during negotiations, but they warned that such muscle flexing could lead to a new war even if neither side wanted a full-fledged conflict. Israel's government hasn't confirmed the truce.

The flare-up, however, will distract from finding a more lasting solution to Gaza's long term economic problems, he said. One of the officials said "they consider this round of escalation over". The enclave's misery results in instability that is a major security concern for Israel.

He said Egypt would continue efforts to broker a long-term ceasefire.

There was no formal comment from Israel, but an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity denied a cease-fire had been reached.

As Israeli airstrikes persist and the living situation gravely worsens, Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege.

After a sleepless night for residents of Gaza and nearby Israeli communities on Wednesday, there was little respite on Thursday morning.

The building was not publicly known to include facilities for Hamas.

A Hamas spokesperson, Abdul Latif al-Qanoa, said that Hamas militants were "defending its people against the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza as part of its national duty".

Military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said he had no information on the woman and child being killed, but noted a pregnant Israeli woman was taken to hospital Wednesday night after a rocket landed nearby. She wrote that "Hamas vowed to respond", and that later in the day "Hamas responded with rocket fire".

Israel's military reported seven civilians wounded. Alon Davidi, the mayor of Sderot, said it's time for "action". In the last several weeks of rocket fire, Hamas did not calibrate its fire to hit only unpopulated areas, as readers are likely to understand from this passage.

"Let's hope for peace, and let's be ready for war", he added.

"The current round in Gaza has ended". "I don't know how, whether through reconciliation or a deal with Israel or Egypt".

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