- Israel and militant forces in the Gaza Strip were engulfed in a wave of deadly violence over the weekend, resulting in the deaths of 25 Palestinians and four Israeli civilians.
- The conflict is the worst fighting to break out between Israelis and Palestinians since war in 2014.
- The two sides agreed to a cease-fire, a welcome relief for residents on both sides caught in the violence.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The deadly round of fighting between Israel and militant forces in Gaza Strip that erupted over the weekend has quieted. On Monday, the Israeli military lifted civilian restrictions.
The violence, which reportedly began on Friday after two Israeli soldiers were shot and wounded by militants, is the worst fighting to break out between Israelis and Palestinians since war in 2014. Israel responded, killing two militants, and Gaza responded in turn with waves of rockets.
The reported cease-fire, indicating a temporary peace, comes as welcome relief for residents on both sides. “The Islamic Jihad militant group, which Israel accused of instigating the latest violence, confirmed that a ‘mutual and concurrent’ truce had been brokered by Egypt,” according to The Associated Press.
The AP reported that 25 Palestinians, including militants and civilians, and four Israeli civilians, were killed in the violence. According to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), almost 700 rockets rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilians. Israel responded with airstrikes on 350 militant targets inside Gaza,The Washington Post reported, and deployed tanks and infantry forces.
As noted by the AP, both sides are wary of another heated conflict: Israel will be celebrating its Memorial Day later this week, and next week will host the popular televised music competition Eurovision song contest; in the Gaza Strip, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan just began, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the group was “not interested in a new war.”
Here’s what it looked like in Israel and the Gaza Strip as residents on both sides tried to stay safe amid this weekend’s fighting.
In 2007, Hamas, an Islamic militant group, took control of the Gaza Strip. Since then Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and engaged in other skirmishes.
In the Southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israelis took cover as sirens blared and warned residents of incoming rockets from Gaza.
Tens-of-thousands of Israelis took refuge in shelters, The Times reported. They were also warned not to go outdoors.
In the Israeli city of Ashkelon, a group of people stood outside their building after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip. This was the first time Israeli citizens were killed by rockets since the 2014 war.
In the southern Israeli town of Ashdod, Israeli emergency personnel assisted a woman wounded from a rocket attack. Israel’s aerial defence system, the Iron Dome, shot down many of the incoming rockets. According to NPR, the Iron Dome “intercepted” 240 rockets shot from Gaza.
In response to the rockets, Israel “conducted targeted airstrikes on hundreds of militant sites, including rocket launch areas, military compounds and weapon facilities,” according to NPR.
In Gaza City, buildings were completely destroyed by the airstrikes carried out by Israeli warplanes.
Among the dead in Gaza were two babies and two pregnant women, The Guardian reported. At least 10 militants were also killed, according to the AP.
In the Palestinian city of Rafah, young girls observed the debris and shattered glass in a building hit by the Israeli air strikes.
In 2007, after Hamas — which is recognised by Israel and others in the international community as a terrorist organisation — came to power, Israel implemented a blockade on the Gaza Strip. The 12-year blockade has wreaked economic havoc on the territory and its 2 million residents many of whom live in poverty.
In Gaza, a young boy cried over his father’s body during his funeral.
Relatives grieved the death of Moshe Agadi, who was killed outside his home in Israel by the rockets.
Here, Palestinians gathered for a funeral ceremony to honour those killed. “We feel very weak after two days of fear,” Wael Hanoush, who lives in Gaza, told the Washington Post. “Today this round ends and we do not know when it will start again.”
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