GAZA CITY: Israel has bombed the Gaza Strip after Palestinian fighters launched several rockets from the besieged coastal enclave amid tensions over an Israeli army deadliest raid in 20 years that killed at least 11 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
Eleven Palestinians, including a 16-year-old, were killed and more than 80 wounded by gunfire on February 23, the Palestinian health ministry said, when Israeli troops raided the flashpoint West Bank city of Nablus, drawing international inappeals for calm. Palestinian group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets after it called on ”resistance forces” to respond to the ”major crime” in Nablus.
The Israeli military launched air strikes on multiple targets in Gaza, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky. The missiles targeted ”a weapons factory” and a ”military camp”, both run by Hamas, the army said in a statement.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said the ”immediate priority must be to prevent further escalation”.
”The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory is at its most combustible in years,” he said, pointing to ”sky high” tensions and the stalled peace process.
February 23 death toll was the highest since the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, ended in 2005, surpassing that of an Israeli raid last month in Jenin, another flashpoint city in the West Bank.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington was ”extremely concerned by the levels of violence”. Neighbouring Jordan said it would ”work intensely with all parties to achieve” calm.
Courtesy: Al Jazeera and AFP