At least 25 Palestinians and four Israelis were killed in a burst of fighting this weekend. After an intense three days of fighting Palestinian leaders in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire with Israel.
Palestinian authorities said the dead in Gaza included two pregnant women, a 14 month old girl, and a 12 year old boy. The latest round of violence began on Friday.
Then Palestinians reportedly shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers near the border. In response, Israel carried out an airstrike on a refugee camp killing two Palestinian militants.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel ordered the armed forces to conduct “massive strikes” on Gaza and reinforce the edge of the enclave with tanks, artillery, and soldiers.
“This morning, I instructed the military to continue massive attacks against terrorist elements in the Gaza strip. I also ordered the reinforcement of the units around the Gaza strip with armor, artillery, and infantry,” the prime minister said.
The IDF said militants had fired 690 rockets into southern Israel during the past 48 hours, 240 of which had been intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome missile defense system. It had also targeted Palestinian militants inside a weapons warehouse.
By Monday morning, Israeli aircraft and tanks had conducted more than 350 strikes in the strip and the separate Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired close to 700 rockets and mortars.
The weekend has been described as the heaviest combat in the region since the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza.
On Sunday night, Donald Trump tweeted his “100%” support for Israel’s actions after “a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad”.
He added: “To the Gazan people, these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. End the violence and work towards peace it can happen!”
UN peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov said, “Continuing down the current path of escalation will quickly undo what has been achieved and destroy the chances for long-term solutions to the crisis.”
“This endless cycle of violence must end, and efforts must accelerate to realize a political solution to the crisis in Gaza” he added.