Israel-Gaza fighting worst since 2014, seven killed, Latest World News - The New Paper

Israel-Gaza fighting worst since 2014, seven killed

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GAZA/JERUSALEM: Israel launched more air strikes on Gaza yesterday as Palestinians kept up rocket fire on Israeli territory, in the worst surge of violence since the 2014 war.

The fighting has killed six Palestinians, five of them militants, and a civilian in Israel since Monday.

Hamas, Gaza's dominant Islamist movement, and other armed factions launched more than 400 rockets or mortar bombs across the border after carrying out a surprise guided-missile attack on Monday on a bus that wounded an Israeli soldier, the military said.

The salvoes were the fiercest since the 2014 Gaza war between Israel and Gaza militants.

Hamas said it was retaliating for a botched Israeli commando raid in Gaza that killed one of its commanders and six other gunmen on Sunday.

An Israeli colonel was also killed.

Sirens rang out in the Israeli port of Ashkelon, sending residents rushing to bomb shelters. Homes were hit, and the military said Israel's anti-rocket system intercepted more than 100 rockets and mortar bombs.

Israel responded with air strikes against Gaza, hitting buildings that included a Hamas intelligence compound and the studios of its Al-Aqsa TV.

The staff had received advance warnings from the military to evacuate.

In aerial attacks yesterday, Israel's military said it struck a rocket-launching squad and fired at Palestinians infiltrating through Israel's border fence.

In Gaza, schools, government offices and banks were closed.

Classes were also cancelled in Israeli towns near the border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his security Cabinet.

A Palestinian official said Egypt and the United Nations have stepped up efforts with Palestinian factions and Israel to end the fighting "and prevent further escalation". - REUTERS