GAZA – At least seven Palestinian militants in Gaza and one Palestinian civilian in Israel were killed in 24 hours of violence as the Israeli air force conducted attacks in response to a barrage of rockets and mortars launched from the enclave, official sources confirmed Tuesday.
The flare-up of violence was triggered by an Israeli military operation near the Gaza town of Khan Younis Sunday night, which was followed by an exchange of fire with a group of Palestinians.
Three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli airstrikes Tuesday morning in the northern Gaza Strip, raising the death toll to seven in the last 24 hours, according to the Gaza ministry of health.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities confirmed to EFE that a Palestinian civilian, 48, had died early Tuesday in the Israeli city of Ashkelon after the Palestinian was hit by one of the more than 400 rockets fired by Palestinian militias from Gaza into Israel.
In total, 14 Palestinian militants, an Israeli soldier and the Palestinian civilian in Israel have been killed since Sunday night in the current wave of violence, which may portend a coming war in the strip.
Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations are still trying to restore calm between the Israeli military and Gaza militias.
Spokesman for the Islamist movement Hamas, Abu Oneida, blamed Israel for the deterioration of the situation, while, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman are expected to meet with the state security cabinet to assess the situation, a ministry official told EFE.