Israel and Gaza they staged a rocket exchange during the early hours of this Friday, in a new escalation of violence in the area after the death on Thursday of nine Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank during an anti-terrorist operation by Israeli forces.
“In response to rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces attacked a underground rocket manufacturing center belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in Maghazi, in the center of the Gaza Strip,” an Israeli army spokesman said.
The airstrikes began from Gaza with the launch of five rockets that sounded anti-missile alarms in Israeli areas bordering the coastal enclave: three of them were intercepted by Israel’s air defense system, another fell in unpopulated areas and another inside the Gaza Strip, the same source added.
Both Palestinian rockets and Israeli airstrikes appeared limited to prevent the confrontation from escalating into all-out war between the parties.
The intensification of violence represents a first trial by fire for the right-wing government of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahuand a shadow hangs over the visit of the North American Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkento the region scheduled for next week.
blinken will travel next Sunday to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank to talk about “global and regional priorities” such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The secretary will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah between next Monday and Tuesday. In Israel, he will meet with the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahuthe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eli Cohenand other senior officials to discuss US “enduring support” for Israel’s security“particularly against threats from Iran.”
“The secretary will also discuss the Israel’s deepening integration into the region, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and the importance of a two-state solution”, the statement states.
In the West Bank, the secretary will meet with the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbasand senior officials to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations and the importance of a two-state solution, political reforms and greater strengthening the US relationship with the Palestinians.
“With both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the secretary will stress the urgent need for the parties to take steps to reduce tensions in order to end the cycle of violence that it has claimed too many innocent lives,” he adds.
He will also discuss the importance of maintaining the historical status quo of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in Jerusalem, “in words and deeds.”
“The Secretary will engage with civil society throughout the trip to underscore our commitment to human rights, support for civil society, and the enduring importance of people-to-people ties,” the statement concluded.
(With information from EFE and AP)
Nine Palestinian terrorists were killed in an Israeli operation against Islamic Jihad in the West Bank
Antony Blinken will travel to Israel and the West Bank to demand an end to violence in the region
Saudi Arabia refused to normalize its relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state