Gaza clashes 'cannot continue': Israeli defence minister


In the predawn hours of Wednesday, one rocket was sacked from Gaza at the southern city Beersheba and a second from the Strip was launched into the Mediterranean Sea near Tel Aviv, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Health officials in Gaza said a 25-year-old Palestinian man, identified by Al-Mujahedeen Brigades, a small militant faction, as one of its members, was killed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country's military was ready to respond "with great force" after a rocket launched from Gaza landed in a southern Israeli city early Wednesday.

The Israeli police said that "a rocket struck the city of Be'er Sheva a few moments ago causing damage", although it did not specify the extent of the destruction.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the closure of both of Israel's border crossings with Gaza on Wednesday following the attacks. The permitted fishing zone along the Gaza coast was also reduced to three nautical miles.

In response to the rocket attack, the Israel Defense Forces said Israeli planes struck more than 20 Hamas terror targets, including a tunnel that infiltrated Israel and a factory used to manufacture components to build tunnels.

The Post said the Central Council of Muslims, an umbrella organization for groups with ties to the fascist Turkish Grey Wolves and anti-Western Islamic entities, participated in the march. It has accused Hamas of using the mass protests as a cover to infiltrate into Israel and carry out attacks.

Tensions along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel have been simmering for months, with Israeli leaders threatening that they are prepared to escalate military action against the enclave.

But Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus rejected the disavowal, saying Hamas bore "full responsibility" as Gaza's de facto ruler.

It had seen thousands of litres (gallons) of fuel paid for by gas-rich Gulf state Qatar delivered to boost power generation in the impoverished territory.

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"Unfortunately, they fit a pattern of provocations that seek to bring Israel and Gaza into another deadly conflict and confrontation", he said.

Growing voices within Israel's leadership have been calling for a stronger response to ongoing weekly protests along the Gaza border fence.

Usually, Israeli civilians are encouraged to return to their routine as quickly as possible, but on Wednesday, school was canceled in Beersheva and areas near the Gaza Strip.

Since March, 155 Palestinians were killed during the protests.

The protesters have been demanding an end to Israel's blockade and the right of return to land now inside Israel, from which their families were expelled or fled during the 1948 war that accompanied its creation.

Gaza's two million residents endure routine power cuts and a chronic shortage of safe drinking water, and more than two-thirds are dependent on worldwide aid.

One Israeli soldier has been killed over the same period.

The next week will be crucial to preventing an outbreak of conflict in the territory, with another Friday protest planned in Gaza, the United Nations and Egypt in intense negotiations to ease tensions and Israeli ministers ratcheting up their war talk.

"Some parties want to ruin the Egyptian efforts of achieving a truce between Gaza and Israel by launching the rockets".