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Israel-Gaza clash leaves 27 dead after 690 rockets fired, 350 airstrikes

Burning factory in Sderot, Israel, which was hit by a rocket from Gaza. (Natan Flayer/Wikimedia Commons)
May 06, 2019

Hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip flew into southern Israel over the weekend, sparking one of the most violent conflicts between the two in years.

About 690 rockets were fired by Palestinian militants on Saturday alone, leaving four Israelis dead and more injured, and prompting Israel to launch hundreds of retaliatory airstrikes on the militants, NBC News reported Monday.

As of early Monday morning, a total of 27 people reportedly died in the clashes and hundreds were injured.

The Israel Defense Forces said late Sunday that Gaza fired 690 rockets, while Israel fired 350 airstrikes at militant targets in Gaza associated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system successfully intercepted some 240 rockets fired from Gaza, but many were able to get through.

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“The campaign is not over and requires patience and judgment. We are preparing to continue. The goal was and remains to ensure the peace and security of the residents of the south,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Donald Trump tweeted his remarks on the conflict late Sunday night.

“Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens… To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace – it can happen!” he said.

Hamas later confirmed that one of their dead was its field commander, Hamed Hamdan al-Khodari, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike while sitting in his car.

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Israeli and Gaza militants agreed on a cease-fire early Monday, with both sides confirming the temporary truce. Monday marks the beginning of Ramadan, Islam’s sacred month of fasting.

It was the first attack since March, when militants in Gaza fired two rockets into Tel Aviv. Israel said Hamas was responsible for the attack.

Egypt facilitated a truce between both sides, with Israel promising to alleviate a blockage on Gaza, which devastated the Gaza economy, in exchange for Gaza to end its rocket strikes.

This weekend’s strikes took place after Hamas accused Israel of breaking that agreement. Israel accused Islamic Jihad of sparking the conflict on Friday when they shot two Israeli troops, and launched two airstrikes on Hamas militants in retaliation.