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Iran Press TV

Gaza-Israel hostilities flare through 2nd day with rocket attacks, air raids

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 1:44 AM

Israeli jet fighters have launched airstrikes against the positions of resistance forces in Gaza Strip after the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad fired 80 rockets toward occupied territories in retaliation for Tel Aviv's killing of its forces.

The Monday exchange of fire marked the second day of an escalation that began to ebb after the Islamic Jihad announced a halt to its attacks.

Islamic Jihad has fired 80 rockets toward occupied territories along the Gaza border since Sunday, an Israeli military spokeswoman said, while Israel has attacked sites in Gaza and Syria that killed three Islamic Jihad members.

The violence comes a week before an Israeli election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in office after two inconclusive votes.

The violence comes a week before an Israeli election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in office after two inconclusive votes.

Islamic Jihad said earlier on Monday it had ended its "military response" to Israel. But it then reversed course and resumed firing rockets, saying Israel had continued air strikes after the resistance forces' apparent de-escalation.

"We have carried out a response in order to stress our position: bombardment for bombardment," said Abu Hamza, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad's armed wing.

A Palestinian official later said that Israel and Islamic Jihad had reached a "reciprocal and simultaneous" ceasefire, brokered by Egypt and the United Nations and set to take effect at 23:30 (21:30 GMT).

The Israeli military said its jets truck an Islamic Jihad training and weapons storage facility in southern Gaza, as well as other underground infrastructure.

"Yesterday we attacked in Syria and in Gaza. We are continuing to strike now with jets, tanks and helicopters," Netanyahu said in a statement on Twitter on Monday evening.

"We will continue to strike until quiet is restored," Netanyahu added.

Israel's military said it had closed all the border crossings of occupied territories with the Gaza Strip, which it keeps under blockade citing security concerns, and closed the coastal enclave's waters from fishing. Crossings would remain closed except for humanitarian cases, a statement said.

The latest fighting began around dawn on Sunday when Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad member who was trying to plant explosives near Israel's border fence with the Gaza Strip.

Video widely shared on social media showed what appeared to be the lifeless body of the resistance fighter dangling from an Israeli military bulldozer as it removed the corpse.

The images created an uproar in Gaza, prompting calls for retaliation. Islamic Jihad later fired a barrage of rockets into Israel.

Just before midnight on Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck what the military called "a hub of Islamic Jihad's activity in Syria" in the Adeliyah region outside Syria's capital, Damascus.

Islamic Jihad continued to fire rockets into southern occupied territories into Monday as funerals for the group's two dead resistance fighters were held in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.

The Gaza rocket fire sent those living in southern occupied territories running to shelters, and the Israeli military said it had closed down roads in the area as a precaution. No casualties were reported.

There was no sign that Gaza's rulers Hamas had been drawn into the rocket firing.

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