Israeli airstrike wounds three Palestinian children in Gaza

Published May 5th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
A Palestinian man surveys a damaged vehicle after an Israeli airstrike on Gaza on May 5, 2016. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
A Palestinian man surveys a damaged vehicle after an Israeli airstrike on Gaza on May 5, 2016. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Four Palestinians, including three children, were injured when Israeli forces carried out several airstrikes in the besieged Gaza Strip early on Thursday morning, as tensions escalated in the Palestinian enclave in the past several days, with the Israeli army reporting that its forces were targeted by mortar rounds on Thursday afternoon.

The Israeli airstrikes on Thursday morning hit a metal workshop in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood southeast of Gaza City, injuring 65-year-old Hassan Hassanien and three children from the family, who were all taken to the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. The workshop belonged to the family of Ayman Hassanien, a senior member of Hamas, who was killed by Israeli soldiers in 2006.

Israeli forces also carried out several airstrikes in an open area of the al-Sorany mountain east of Gaza City. 

The southern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya was struck by two rockets which destroyed a location allegedly being used by the Hamas movement. No deaths were reported. 

Meanwhile, the Israeli army reported that mortar rounds had been fired at its troops near the Gaza border on Thursday afternoon, adding that there were no injuries. It claimed that this was the 10th incident of the sort since Tuesday.

Thursday's violence followed an Israeli aerial offensive earlier on Wednesday evening, which targeted a previously destroyed airport in the southwestern town of Rafah, as Israeli forces claimed that the location was used by Hamas.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that airstrikes were carried out from Wednesday evening until three or four in the morning on Thursday.

A statement released by the Israeli army on Thursday morning claimed that the airstrikes were in response to ongoing violence along the border areas between the Gaza Strip and Israel, adding that the strikes targeted four Hamas “terrorist infrastructure sites” in the northern Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri urged all parties to accept their responsibilities and end the aggression on Gaza in a press statement released on Wednesday, adding that Israeli crimes would not “break the spirit of the Palestinian people.”

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov expressed his concern over the increasing tensions in the besieged enclave, urging all participants to “exercise maximum restraint” and to take all necessary measures to “prevent the risk of escalation.”

Israeli forces also announced on Thursday that they had uncovered a tunnel in southern Gaza which they said may cross under the security fence between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel.

This latest incursion into the Gaza Strip came only a few hours after Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzouq, announced that Egypt was mediating peace efforts to restore the 2014 truce negotiated between Israel and the Gaza Strip following a devastating Israeli offensive on the Palestinian territory.

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