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Gaza militants fire rockets towards Israel

04 June 2018

The conflict exploded into a day of cross-border fighting on Tuesday when Islamic militants in Gaza fired scores of mortar shells and short-range rockets into southern Israel, and the Israeli Air Force bombed at least 65 military sites across the Palestinian coastal territory.

Israeli soldiers on Friday killed one Palestinian and injured at least a hundred others protesting in Gaza along the fence that separates the territory from Israel, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

"This strike was conducted in response to the projectiles which were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel last night, in addition to the acts of terror approved and led by the Hamas terror organisation throughout the weekend", the military added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the strikes that Israel's military had delivered the "harshest blow" in years to Gaza militants.

United Nations officials condemned the killing of Najjar, saying that witness reports indicated she wore clothing that clearly identified her as a health worker.

"With its votes today, the UN Security Council majority showed that it was willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas, for violence in Gaza", Haley said.

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Razan's colleague Shaimaa said Israeli forces had started firing at the medical crew while they were discussing how to assist wounded protesters.

It calls for urgent steps "to ensure an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire" and asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a written report within 60 days detailing recommendations about "an global protection mechanism".

Palestinian Islamist groups in Gaza, including the strip's rulers Hamas, said a cease-fire deal was reached after the flare-up, although there was no confirmation from Israel.

On the Friday clashes, the army said it had included "thousands of rioters" at five locations along the border, "burning tires adjacent to the security fence and attempting to damage security infrastructure".

The demonstrations and violence peaked on May 14 when at least 61 Palestinians were killed in clashes as tens of thousands of Gazans protested the USA transfer of its embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem the same day.

"They [the Israelis] know Razan, they know she is a paramedic, she has been helping treat wounds since 30 March", Sabreen, the paramedic's mother, told Middle East Eye, speaking with tears in her eyes. More than 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire since they began in late March.

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The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also said it was "deeply concerned" and called for the protection of medical workers.

On Friday, a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for using "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force" against Palestinians failed when it was vetoed by the United States.

Low-level demonstrations have continued since.

None of Gaza's militant groups claim responsibility.

At Saturday's funeral procession, Razan al-Najar's body was carried through the streets of Gaza wrapped in a Palestinian flag. "She was directly shot by the Israeli forces".

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Gaza militants fire rockets towards Israel