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Israeli planes bomb Gaza as Egyptians seek to restore calm

By AFP - Aug 19,2020 - Last updated at Aug 19,2020

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli war planes carried out air strikes over Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on Sunday (AFP photo)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas-ruled Gaza early Tuesday in response to Palestinian fire balloons allegedly launched across the border, the Israeli forces said.

The strikes came as visiting Egyptian security officials strove to defuse the latest uptick in violence, a Hamas source said.

The Hamas source told AFP the Islamists had held talks with the Egyptian delegation in Gaza on Monday before it left the territory for meetings with the Israelis and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

It was expected to return to Gaza after those talks were concluded, the source added.

Israel has launched three wars against Gaza since 2008.

Despite a truce last year backed by Egypt, the UN and Qatar, Hamas and Israel clash sporadically, with Palestinian incendiary balloons or rocket or mortar fire drawing retaliatory Israeli strikes and civil sanctions.

Israel has banned fishing off Gaza's coast and closed the Kerem Shalom goods crossing, cutting off deliveries of fuel to the territory's sole power plant.

The plant's spokesman Mohammed Thabet announced its "complete shutdown" on Tuesday after its fuel ran out.

Power had been in short supply even before the shutdown, with consumers having access to mains electricity for only around eight hours a day.

That will now be cut to just four hours a day using power supplied from the Israeli grid.

For the rest of the time, those Gazans who can afford it rely on solar panels, or generators, which also need fuel.

The Hamas source said there were no casualties in the latest Israeli air raids.

“The occupation continued its aggression and carried out air strikes on Gaza after midnight,” he said, adding that the strikes were seen as a “negative response” to the truce feelers.

Gaza security sources and witnesses said the strikes hit Hamas lookout posts at Rafah in the south of the territory and Beit Lahia in the north.



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