Hamas: Gaza groups agree to truce if Israel ceases fire

Saul Bowman
May 30, 2018

At least 116 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire at mass demonstrations along the border, drawing global condemnation for Israel over its use of lethal force.

The Israeli military said most of the projectiles were intercepted, but three soldiers were wounded, raising the chances of further Israeli retaliation.

Israeli actions came in response to an increased wave of attacks blamed on Hamas, "which bears responsibility for all events in the Gaza Strip", the IDF said.

One of the mortars landed in an Israeli kindergarten, Conricus said, while the Hamas-run Gaza Education Ministry said a school in the central Gaza Strip was badly damaged by the Israeli strikes.

Israel's military said it was not seeking an escalation, but warned Hamas. No children were present at the time.

The Gaza Strip has also been under an inhumane Israeli siege since 2007.

The meeting is expected to take place on Wednesday afternoon, according to a statement from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations .

"The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians", U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said.

Security Council statements are adopted by consensus by all 15 members.

"Israel will exact a heavy price from those who seek to harm it, and we see Hamas as responsible for preventing such attacks", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The Israeli military confirmed over 60 airstrikes throughout Gaza, including an unfinished tunnel near the southern city of Rafah that crossed under the border into Egypt and from there into Israeli territory. Explosions shook the Palestinian enclave and smoke rose from the sites hit.

Islamic Jihad is the second-largest armed group in Gaza after Hamas.

Israeli soldiers stand guard next to an Israeli Iron Dome defence system, created to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, deployed along the fence with the Gaza strip on May 29, 2018.

Later Jihad spokesman Dawoud Shihab said an Egyptian-brokered agreement had been reached to return calm. "The resistance factions will abide by it as long as the Occupation does the same", he added.

Israeli forces later stopped and seized the main protest boat as it approached the blockade limit at nine nautical miles, while others were said to have turned back.

"The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they're allowing to happen in Gaza".

Low level demonstrations and clashes have continued ever since.

At least 116 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and more than 10,000 have been injured since mass demonstrations began on March 30.

Israel has rejected the criticism of its response to the protests, saying it is defending its border and nearby communities. Seventy-two people were killed on the Israeli side.

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