Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
A Palestinians boy walks through the rubble of a destroyed building following an Israeli air strike in Jabaliya, Monday, March 12, 2012. Israeli air strikes killed two Palestinian militants and a schoolboy in the Gaza Strip on Monday and Palestinian rocket squads barraged southern Israel, in escalating fighting that has defied international truce efforts. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
5 die in airstrikes on Gaza, militants barrage Israel

First Published Mar 12 2012 10:21 am • Last Updated Mar 12 2012 10:26 am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip • Israeli airstrikes killed three Palestinian civilians and two militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday and Palestinian rocket squads barraged southern Israel in escalating fighting that defied international truce efforts.

A high school student, a father and daughter were among the dead.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The cross-border violence, touched off by Israel’s killing of a top Palestinian militant leader on Friday, has been the worst exchange of fire between Israel and the Hamas-ruled territory in months.

The fighting has so far killed 23 Gazans, including 18 militants, seriously wounded two Israelis, and disrupted the lives of 1 million Israelis living within the range of Gaza rockets.

At a news conference in Gaza City on Monday, masked members of Islamic Jihad’s military wing demanded Israel cease fire first and stop targeting militants.

"We warn the leaders of the enemy of the consequences of testing our patience. Our patience is limited and shall be turned into fire and destruction upon them," one of the masked men said.

Chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Israel would halt its raids if the rocket fire stopped, but added that the Israeli military would continue to take pre-emptive action to foil militant attack plans.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would expand its offensive if needed to stop the Palestinian rocket attacks.

Speaking at a meeting of his Likud party Monday afternoon, Netanyahu said the military "is ready to broaden its operations and will continue to act as necessary." He did not elaborate.

Israel said it launched Friday’s initial airstrike to stop a militant group’s plan to infiltrate into Israel through Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. In the past, similar flare-ups have died out by themselves or with informal cease-fires negotiated by third parties, often Egypt.


story continues below
story continues below

In this case too, Egypt has been trying to mediate an end to the clashes, and Hamas has also appealed to other Mideast countries to join the truce attempts. But by Monday afternoon, there was no sign of progress.

On Monday, Israeli aircraft swooped down on Gaza 11 times by midday, striking what the military said were rocket-launching sites and a weapons storage facility. Two militants, a 16-year-old high school student, and a 65-year-old man and his 30-year-old daughter were killed in four separate raids, Gaza health official Adham Abu Salmia said.

One of the militants was killed while riding a motorcycle. The teenager died while walking to school, and the father and daughter were killed when a missile struck right outside their home, witnesses said.

The Israeli military said the air attacks were in response to continued rocket fire. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said more than two dozen rockets had struck southern Israel by early Monday afternoon. One damaged a preschool building on a communal farm shortly before children were scheduled to arrive, but no one was hurt, Rosenfeld said.

Schools in the area were closed for a second day to avoid casualties, keeping tens of thousands of children at home. A day earlier, a rocket struck the courtyard of one of the empty schools.

Also Monday, militants fired three mortar shells into Kerem Shalom, the sole cargo crossing between Israel and Gaza through which 70 percent of all goods that enter the Palestinian territory pass. Two vehicles were hit on the Palestinian side of the crossing, but no one was injured, Israeli officials said and work resumed after a brief halt.

Israel says the newly introduced Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted dozens of the more than 190 rockets fired since the clashes erupted, and military officials suggested this averted more casualties and damage.

"The vast majority of the rockets shot at Israeli cities were intercepted," said Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish, commander of the defense unit that includes Iron Dome. "This is a new era in military history, there is an effective defense against rockets."

Although military officials are quick to note that Iron Dome will not offer hermetic protection, its success rate raised hopes the military has found a way to rob militants of their most potent weapon — primitive, short-range rockets that have made life miserable for hundreds of thousands of Israelis by eluding their high-tech military for years.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Monday that the continued fire from Gaza "buries any chance of a territorial link between Gaza and the West Bank." The Palestinians want both areas, which lie on opposite sides of Israel, for a future state, along with Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem.

Gaza and the West Bank are today ruled by dueling governments. Hamas is internationally shunned because of its refusal to renounce violence against Israel, and Israel’s peace talks with the West Bank government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stalled years ago.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.