[QODLink]
Middle East

Israel launches fresh strikes on Gaza

Attacks come after Palestinian groups say they are ready for ceasefire if Israel "stops its aggression".
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2012 11:52
Seven Palestinians have been killed since Saturday [AFP]

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned that a flare-up in violence with Gaza was "not over," after new rocket fire in the morning and Israeli strikes overnight.

The violence that began on Saturday appeared to have slowed considerably, with Gaza militants firing a single rocket into Israel on Tuesday morning, hours after they said they would commit to a ceasefire if Israel state did the same.

Israeli war planes carried out air strikes against several targets overnight, which caused no injuries, although medics in Gaza said Tuesday a seventh person had died in the violence, succumbing to wounds he sustained on Saturday.

Barak, after meeting Israeli military chiefs on Tuesday morning, warned that the current round of confrontations was ongoing, adding that Israel would decide how and when to respond to the rocket fire.

"It is certainly not over and we will decide how and when to act if necessary," he said in remarks communicated by his office.

Ceasefire offer

The main Palestinian fighter groups in the Gaza Strip said on Monday that they are ready for a ceasefire if Israel "stops its aggression" against the territory.

"The Islamic and nationalist movement confirm that the response of the resistance depends on whether the Zionist aggression against our people is continued," they said in a statement read out at a news conference in Gaza City.

The offer was made after fighters fired more rockets at southern Israel, wounding eight people, in retaliation for the killing of seven Palestinians on Saturday. 

On Sunday night, Israel carried out air strikes in northern and southern Gaza, and Palestinians began launching rockets into Israel from around 7:30am local time on Monday morning.

'Act to stop it'

Israel's top military officials were said to be weighing whether to launch a more serious response to the violence, and Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned that efforts to stamp out rocket fire would intensify.

"These are very important days ... in light of the ongoing activity against Hamas and terror organisations in Gaza, which is likely to intensify and expand," he said, quoted by his office.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, touring southern Israel with foreign diplomats, warned that "the world must understand that Israel has the complete right and the obligation to protect its citizens".

"We shall not sit with our arms folded in the face of repeated, almost daily, attacks on our citizens," he added. "We shall act to stop it."

US ambassador Dan Shapiro, writing on Facebook, has said "the United States supports Israel's right to defend itself and its citizens from these attacks."

In light of the violence, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday urged both sides to "refrain from exacerbating the situation."

448

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list