Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • UN peacekeepers battle jihadists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

Middle east

Israeli jets target southern Gaza after rocket strike

Latest update : 2009-01-29

Israeli warplanes targeted the town of Rafah, along the Gaza-Egypt border, shortly after a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza. The violence comes as visiting US envoy George Mitchell said it was critical to bolster the tenuous Gaza ceasefire.

REUTERS - Israeli warplanes bombed a weapons production facility in Gaza on Thursday after militants fired a rocket at Israel, in violence that defied the efforts of a visiting U.S. peace envoy to reinforce a ceasefire.

There were no reports of injuries from the predawn Israeli strike in the town of Rafah, along Gaza's border with Egypt. Witnesses and Hamas Islamists said a metal foundry was damaged.

Moments earlier, a militant group with links to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement claimed responsibility for firing a rocket at southern Israel late on Wednesday.

The rocket was the first fired from Gaza since Israel and Hamas called separate ceasefires ending a 22-day Israeli offensive on Jan. 18.

It caused no casualties, but Israeli leaders facing a Feb. 10 election in a campaign focussed on security concerns, have vowed to respond to rocket salvoes its offensive in Gaza had aimed to curtail.

Israel has said it will hold Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for all attacks launched from the coastal territory, and had warned of a stronger response to the killing of a soldier on Tuesday in an explosion by a Gaza border fence.

"Israel will respond very severely," an Israeli security source said on Wednesday, and added, "we haven't seen it all," referring to the Israeli air strikes carried out earlier in the day on tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.

"We will remain ready, with our finger on the trigger around the clock," Benjamin Ben-Eliezer of Israel's decision-making security cabinet said in remarks televised on Wednesday.

Hamas defended Tuesday's bombing, citing the killing of two Palestinians by Israel last week. Israeli forces killed one Palestinian, identified by Gaza medical workers as a farmer after the bombing and later wounded a militant on a motorcycle.



VIOLENCE CLOUDS U.S. ENVOY VISIT

The violence clouded a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who said in Jerusalem on Wednesday it was "of critical importance that the ceasefire be extended and consolidated" with respect to Israel and Gaza.

Mitchell met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday and will meet Abbas on Thursday.

Western diplomats said Mitchell would not meet Hamas, a group shunned by the U.S. and Europe for it refusal to recognise Israel.

Mitchell said on Wednesday any durable truce between Israel and Hamas must end smuggling into Gaza and reopen border crossings controlled by Israel to relieve its economic blockade of the enclave where half the 1.5 million people depend on food aid.

He cited a U.S.-brokered 2005 agreement calling for forces loyal to Abbas to be deployed in Gaza. Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas's forces in 2007, a year after the Islamists won a parliamentary election.

"President Obama has said the United States is committed to Israel's security and to its right to defend itself against legitimate threats," Mitchell said.

"The president has also said the United States will sustain an active commitment toward reaching the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security," he added.

Olmert told Mitchell Israel would object to reopening any crossings with Gaza save to permit the flow of vital aid to the territory, until an Israeli soldier captured in 2006 was freed, an Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We don't intend to open the crossings before Gilad Shalit returns home," Ben-Eliezer, the Israeli cabinet minister said, referring to the soldier seized by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid.

Israeli leaders fear Hamas could rebuild tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border to replenish an arsenal of rockets used in attacks on its southern communities that disrupt life for tens of thousands of citizens.

Some 1,300 Palestinians, including at least 700 civilians, were killed in the offensive, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip said. Israel put its death toll in the war at 10 soldiers and three civilians.

Date created : 2009-01-29

COMMENT(S)