By Ali Al-Bassam
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
GAZA CITY, Gaza — Four Palestinians were killed and two Thai nationals were seriously injured within a twelve hour period last Wednesday when Israel launched an aerial assault on Gaza. The act was a response to events that occurred last Tuesday, when Palestinian fighters launched six rockets at Israel. The Israeli military said it had fired 72 rockets and mortar shells over the border since midnight.
The aerial bombardment began Tuesday evening and continued well into the early morning hours on Wednesday. Israeli aircrafts killed two fighters from the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, in northern Gaza, sparking more rocket fire. An early morning raid killed a third fighter from the Popular Resistance Commitees (PRC) near the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, while a Hamas fighter died of injuries he sustained during Tuesday night’s air raid. Since Monday, 6 Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks, while 12 have been injured.
“4 Palestinians killed in a day is a spike in numbers, with the killings and also the rockets there is an increase in tension, things currently are really tense in Gaza as border crossings are closed,” said Nicole Johnston, a reporter for Al Jazeera.
Palestinian armed groups fired 50 home – made shells from the Gaza strip as a response to Israel’s air raids. Israeli sources say that at least 6 Israelis were injured by the attack. Palestinian sources say that fighter groups within the region have formed a joint operations center to counter any Israeli wide spread attacks.
During a tour of the area around Gaza, Defense Minister Ehud Barak vowed that “Hamas would receive its punishment for what happened [here].” “No terror element responsible for causing damage in Israel, or to Israelis will be spared,” he said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ensured that “every community within 7 kilometers would be properly protected against rocket fire.” An Iron Dome battery, one of Israel’s missile defense systems, intercepted 7 rockets that were fired at the town of Ashkelon.
Haaretz reports that as of now, all Israeli communities within mid-range of Gaza rockets are properly reinforced to protect against the fire.
The events occurred after Egypt tried to negotiate a truce between Israel and Hamas following a round of violence where approximately 80 rockets and mortar shells were fired at the areas surrounding the Gaza strip. A Palestinian official close to the talks told Reuters last Wednesday that “[t]he contacts Cairo made resulted in a verbal promise by Hamas to calm the situation down and Israel… would refrain from attacks unless it was subject to rocket fire.”
For further information, please see:
Al Jazeera — Israel and Gazans in tit-for-tat Attacks — 24 October 2012
Gulf Today — Israeli Raid Kills Four Palestinians — 24 October 2012
Haaretz — Palestinians: Egypt Trying to Mediate Hamas – Israel Truce — 24 October 2012
International Middle East Media Center — Palestine Today 10 24 2012 — 24 October 2012
The Jerusalem Post — Palestinian Official: Egypt Mediating Hamas-Israel Truce — 24 October 2012