RNA - Tensions erupted on Friday following the killing of four Palestinians, two in an Israeli air raid on Southern Gaza and two during the Tel Aviv regime’s live fire at anti-occupation protesters near a fence separating the blockaded coastal enclave from the occupied territories.
The Israeli Army on Friday, Saturday and Sunday bombed several targets in the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian resistance groups responded by firing rockets toward Israeli settlements neighboring the enclave.
Gaza's Ministry of Health announced that a pregnant woman identified as Falasteen Abu Arar, 37, and her 14-month-old relative Saba Abu Arar were killed by an Israeli airstrike that targeted their home East of Gaza city on Saturday.
With Friday, Saturday and Sunday's martyrs, the number of the Palestinian civilians killed since the escalation started three days ago increased to more than 10, while over 100 people sustained injuries, including minors.
The Tel Aviv regime claimed that it has targeted some 180 sites in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian government media office announced that the IOF launched air raids and fired artillery shells at the besieged enclave that destroyed 200 civilian facilities and infrastructure.
The statement pointed out that schools, cars, cultivated land lots, greenhouses, and medical service vehicles were damaged in the vicious attacks, while a mosque in Shati refugee camp in western Gaza City, workshops to the East of the city, fishermen piers in Rafah, Gaza and Khan Younis in addition to 21 training camps and 17 resistance watchtowers were also targeted.
In turn, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement have fired more than 430 rockets towards cities and villages in Southern Israel. The Tel Aviv regime claimed that the Iron Dome anti-missile system had intercepted more than 250 of them.
A 60-year-old man was killed after a rocket slammed into his house in the town of Ashkelon, a coastal city in the Southern District of Israel. A total of some 83 Israelis have also been wounded.
In a statement, the two groups promised a "broader and more painful" response if Israel "pursues its aggression".
According to Fars News Agancy, amid the ongoing standoff, the Islamic Jihad released a video vowing to strike nuclear research facility in Dimona and other strategic sites, including Ben-Gurion International Airport. Hamas also noted that the "next step is to blow up Tel Aviv".
Across the border, sirens sent Israelis running to shelters as the blasts of rocket interceptions sounded overhead, and Jonathan Conricus, spokesman for Israeli military, stated that Israel was prepared to intensify its attacks.
The UN’s Middle East envoy said he was “deeply concerned by yet another dangerous escalation in Gaza”, adding that the world body and Egypt were attempting to broker an end to the fighting.
“The United Nations is working with Egypt and all sides to calm the situation. I call on all parties to immediately de-escalate and return to the understandings of the past few months. Those who seek to destroy them will bear responsibility for a conflict that will have grave consequences for all,” Nikolay Mladenov said in a statement.
“Continuing down the current path of escalation will quickly undo what has been achieved and destroy the chances for long-term solutions to the crisis. This endless cycle of violence must end, and efforts must accelerate to realize a political solution to the crisis in Gaza,” he added.
The European Union also called for an immediate de-escalation late on Saturday, and threw its backing behind efforts by Egypt and the United Nations to calm the situation.
Since late March 2018, tensions have been running high near the Gaza fence - which marked the start of a series of rallies demanding the right to return for the Palestinians driven out of their homeland. Since the demonstrations started, the Israeli occupation army has killed almost 290 Palestinians and injured over 32,000 others.
A United Nations fact-finding mission found earlier that Israeli forces committed rights violations during their crackdown against the Palestinian protesters in Gaza that may amount to war crimes.
The region has been under Israel’s all-out siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008. Tel Aviv seven-week-long war in 2014 and two other military operations over the last six years have caused economic losses close to three times the size of Gaza's gross domestic product. The latest onslaught claimed the lives of over 2,200 Palestinians and left over half a million more displaced, with another 11,000 injured in the assault. It also severely damaged more than 20,000 homes, 148 schools, 15 hospitals, and 45 clinics. At least 247 factories and 300 commercial centers were rendered inoperable or totally destroyed in the attack.