Israel Pounds Gaza after Hamas Rocket Fire
Israeli warplanes pummelled Gaza with 40 to 50 air strikes that killed five Palestinians Saturday in response to Hamas's attacks on Israeli civilians. Terrorists slammed 23 rockets into Israel, deliberately terrorizing hundreds of thousands of civilians and defying international efforts to find a fresh ceasefire.
Gaza emergency services said five men were killed in Israeli raids – two Hamas terrorists who had been travelling by motorcycle through Al-Maghazi refugee camp, and three others who were pulled from the rubble of Al-Qassam mosque in the middle of the enclave.
Two more Palestinians were reportedly killed in Gaza when their car was hit by a missile.
The Palestinian interior ministry said Israeli jets destroyed three mosques.
Israel released footage showing the elimination of the terrorists on the motorcycle, and rockets being fired from next to a mosque, as well as strikes on various targets Saturday.
The army said 23 rockets rained on Israel, bringing to 61 the number of projectiles launched at the Jewish state since a 72-hour truce ended on Friday.
One Israeli civilian and a soldier were wounded on Friday.
Israel said it had carried out more than 100 strikes in Gaza since Friday, 49 of them since midnight, targeting those responsible for the rocket fire.
In Judea and Samaria, fresh clashes broke out after the funerals of two Palestinian Arab men shot dead by Israeli troops during violent riots against the Gaza operation on Friday, witnesses said.
Palestinian youths threw stones and Israeli troops responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
The 72-hour truce collapsed after mediators in Cairo failed to extend a ceasefire when it expired on Friday morning as Hamas breached the quiet with pre-dawn rocket attacks.
The conflict has now killed at least 1,911 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side, almost all soldiers, since July 8. Millions of Israelis have been terrorized by Hamas's rockets, which are aimed at civilians, in contravention of the intenationally accepted rules of war.
The United Nations says at least 1,354 of the Palestinian dead were civilians, including 447 children.
In London, up to 150,000 protesters packed Oxford Street, marching to the US embassy and on to Hyde Park, many of them chanting "Free, Free Palestine" and holding up banners saying "UK – Stop Arming Israel".
Tens of thousands of demonstrators also marched through Cape Town to protest the Israeli military operation, one of the biggest rallies in the city since the end of apartheid.
Demonstrators carried placards stating "Israel is an apartheid state" and "Stop Israeli murder".
In Gaza, the Hamas terror organization vowed no concessions.
"The occupier's intransigence will get it nowhere and we will make no concessions on the demands of our people," spokesman Fawzy Barhum said in a statement.
The lifting of Israel's land and sea blockade, imposed in 2006 after Hamas captured an Israeli soldier, has been a key demand of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in Cairo talks.
A Palestinian official said on condition of anonymity Egypt and the Palestinians had reached a draft agreement that would be submitted to Israel on Saturday.
It would see Egypt and the Palestinian Authority take control of the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, essentially activating part of a unity accord Hamas signed with the PA in April.
Negotiations on the sea port, demanded by Hamas, would then be delayed and entrusted to the PA, with whom Israel is prepared to deal.
But combat has not resumed at the same fierce intensity, feeding hopes of a new truce bring agreed.
"Our hope is that the parties will agree to an extension of the ceasefire in the coming hours," US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.