Thousands flee as Israel launches fresh air strikes in Gaza

Thousands flee as Israel launches fresh air strikes in Gaza
Tue Aug 19, 2014 21:17:32

Thousands of Palestinians fled their homes in neighborhoods of eastern Gaza City on Tuesday, carrying bags of clothes, pillows and mattresses after renewed Israeli air strikes, witnesses said.

Hundreds of Palestinians streaming out of Shejaiya, an area devastated by more than a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas resistance group.

Thousands more were leaving the Zeitun and Shaaf areas, alarmed by a series of explosions, and heading towards shelters in UN schools, the witnesses said.

The United Nations said Monday that more than 237,600 Palestinians were already seeking shelter at 81 UN schools across the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, Israel ordered its negotiators back from talks in Cairo and warplanes hit targets in Gaza after claiming that Palestinian rockets smashed into the country's south as the two sides were observing a 24-hour truce.

Nine days of relative quiet in the skies over Gaza came to an abrupt halt under a pretext in which Israeli officials announced three rockets struck southern Israel just hours before the truce was to expire at midnight local time.

Israel immediately ordered a military response, with warplanes striking targets.

Two boys aged six and nine were moderately wounded in the southern city of Rafah, the Palestinian emergency services spokesman said.

However, Hamas officials blame Israel for a breakdown in talks in Cairo aimed at reaching a lasting truce as a temporary ceasefire was on the verge of collapsing.

“If [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu doesn’t understand well the message and the demands of Gaza through the political language of negotiations in Cairo, we know very well the way which obliges him to understand it,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says.


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