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Gaza Violence Continues with Airstrike, Rockets | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, (AP) – Israeli aircraft fired missiles at militants in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday and Palestinians sent rocket barrages flying into Israel, officials said, as newly resumed violence threatened to bury a five-month-old truce.

The renewed rocket fire from Gaza prompted Israel to seal its crossings with the territory, halting shipments of food aid and fuel.

Israel’s military said the airstrike targeted rocket launchers and Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of Gaza’s Health Ministry said two gunmen were moderately wounded.

Hamas militants in the northern Gaza Strip unleashed a barrage of rockets at the nearby Israeli town of Sderot, where Israeli rescue services said they were treating one person wounded by shrapnel. Several rockets hit agricultural communities near the Israel-Gaza border, and more rockets hit the coastal city of Ashkelon. No casualties were reported in those strikes.

Israeli police and rescue services announced they were raising their alert level in preparation for more attacks.

Hamas claimed responsibility for firing the rockets in a text message sent to reporters.

The June cease-fire began disintegrating last week when Israeli forces entered Gaza to try destroy what the military said was a tunnel dug by militants to carry out a planned cross-border raid.

Eleven militants have been killed in more than a week of fighting and some 140 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza at Israel. Both sides have said they want to continue the truce but events signal the opposite is happening.

Israel kept the crossings into Gaza sealed for a 10th straight day Friday. The U.N. suspended its food aid distribution to 750,000 Gaza residents because its warehouses have run out of food, said John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The 20,000 Palestinians due to pick up aid parcels Saturday would be sent home empty-handed, Ging said. The parcels contain flour, oil, sugar, rice and canned meat. “Until we are resupplied, we won’t have food,” he said.

Swaths of Gaza City suffered blackouts Friday after Gaza’s power plant shut down Thursday evening, citing a lack of industrial fuel. Much of Gaza is powered by electricity supplied directly from Israel and Egypt, however, and that flow continued uninterrupted.

Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner said the crossings would likely remain shut Friday because of the ongoing fire. “It depends on Hamas and whether they stop firing rockets at Israel,” Lerner said.