Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

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

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger: Top opposition figure to be questioned in baby-trafficking scandal

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

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

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

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

    Read more

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

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

Middle east

Israel stages deadly attacks on Gaza after Hamas bus blast

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-09

Israel has staged its most deadly offensive on Gaza in more than two years, killing at least 18 people – including six civilians – and wounding 65, after Hamas targeted a school bus Thursday, wounding two people.

AP - Israel pounded Hamas targets in Gaza with air strikes and tank shells Saturday, killing four militants, as Palestinian missiles reached deeper into Israel in the most intense round of fighting since the Gaza war.

In all, 18 Gazans have been killed and more than 65 wounded since Israel unleashed the strikes following a Hamas attack on an Israeli school bus Thursday. An anti-tank rocket struck the bus, seriously wounding a 16-year-old boy and injuring the driver.
 
After Israel’s devastating military offensive in the winter of 2008-2009, Gaza’s Hamas rulers had largely observed a cease-fire, and it was not immediately clear why the Islamic militants chose to end their relative restraint. Israel, in turn, has pledged to strike back hard for the bus attack, in an attempt to restore the deterrence created by the Gaza war.
 
Early Saturday, an Israeli airstrike struck a car near Rafah in southern Gaza, killing three Hamas militants. Hamas said one of its top commanders, 29-year-old Tayser Abu Snima, and two of his assistants were killed. Later, a tank shell killed another militant near the Jabalya neighborhood in Gaza.
 
Overall, Israeli strikes have killed 11 militants, a Hamas policeman and six civilians since Thursday.
 
Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired more than 15 missiles into Israel Saturday. The rockets reached the vicinity of the Israeli cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheba. The military confirmed that its newly deployed Iron Dome defense system knocked some of them down. No Israelis were wounded in the attacks.
 
Reinforced rooms and early warning systems also have helped keep Israeli casualties low.
 
The interception of missiles in recent days mark a defense coup for Israel. Iron Dome is the first system worldwide to knock down missiles at such altitude and trajectory.
 
Israel has said it would hit back hard for the bus attack.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that the attack on the school bus “crossed a line” and warned that “whoever tries to harm and murder children will pay with their life.”
 
Most of the schoolchildren on the bus had gotten off shortly before the attack. Had the attack caused a significant death toll, the Israeli response would surely have been more severe, perhaps even leading to another major Israeli offensive.
 
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Saturday that the group’s attacks were still “limited and controlled” but that continued Israeli strikes may force it to escalate in response. He said that Israel was trying to break the control of Hamas in Gaza.
 
“The occupation government is responsible for this escalation,” he told reporters in Gaza. “We want to make a clear point that we shall not allow them to achieve their goals and they must know that they will fail to force the Palestinians to give up.”
 
Hamas has said the bus attack was in retaliation for the killing of three fighters in an airstrike earlier in the week.
 
It is not clear whether Hamas was trying to provoke a new conflagration with that attack, if it was not fully in control of all of its fighters, or if it believes Israel would pull back before invading Gaza again. Israel was condemned internationally after the Gaza war.
 
Thousands of rockets from Gaza have hit Israeli towns and cities since 2001. Israel’s attempts to stop the rockets have included military incursions and covert operations abroad aimed at disrupting Hamas’ efforts to procure arms.

 

Date created : 2011-04-09

  • ISRAEL

    Israel searches for its place amid Arab Spring

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Israeli defence shield blocks rocket attack on first day of operation

    Read more

  • PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    Israel arrests 100 Palestinian women in latest round-up

    Read more

COMMENT(S)