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On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed three more Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, increasing the death toll to 18. Medics said that those killed were a 12-year-old boy, a 60-year-old farm guard, and a militant.
According to CNN News, at least 35 people have been injured; the Israeli army justified the killings by releasing a statement on Saturday, that said “The targeting is in direct response to the rocket fire at Israeli communities in southern Israel. Over the past 24 hours, over 45 rockets have hit communities in southern Israel- injuring four people, one severely, one moderately and two lightly.”
This violence is considered as the worst round of bloodshed since August. The Associated Press reported that, the attacks started on Friday, when an Israeli airstrike killed the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) militant group. Since then, Israeli raids have resulted in the death of 16 Gaza militants and two civilians.
Paul Brennan from Al Jazeera, reported the following:
“The Israeli army is saying these two people it targeted with its clinical airstrike on Friday night were senior militants who were plotting an attack. The Israeli army says that last year’s attack on the road that runs alongside the Egyptian border, where eight people were killed and 25 Israeli soldiers were wounded, was masterminded by the two men they targeted.
Zuhair Al-Qaissi and Mahmoud Al-Hannani were said to have been behind these attacks, and the Israeli army said that these two men were planning a similar attack and that is why they launched their aerial clinical attack.”
Egypt, a previous peace mediator, tried to put an end to this series of attacks. Yasser Othman, Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinians, said “Our contacts are still ongoing, and we hope that all parties will respond to avoid going down a path no one wants.”
In response, Khaled Batch, a leader of the Islamic Jihad militant faction in Gaza, told the Associated Press that, “There is no room to talk about calm, considering the continued Zionist aggression against Gaza; we reject the equation of murder for calm. Israel is responsible for its crimes, and it should stop the aggression against our people.”
Hundreds of grief-stricken Palestinians continued to mourn their loved ones as they streamed through the streets of two Gaza towns on Sunday to bury the day’s victims. Women wept and men ear-piercingly repeated slogans that demanded vengeance for the lost souls, while Gaza militants fired guns into the air.