July 11, 2014 11:45 am
Updated: July 11, 2014 11:49 am

Airstrikes on Gaza kill over 100 as militant rockets continue to fall on Israel


ABOVE: Israel says it has hit Hamas targets in Gaza with more than one thousand airstrikes in four days, and Palestinians say more than one hundred people have been killed by the Israeli attacks. 

Latest developments:

  • Lebanese rockets hit Israel on 4th day of assault
  • Death toll in Gaza rises above 100
  • Mortars from Gaza cause injuries in Eshkol
  • UN Secretary-General warns of escalation
  • Rocket from Gaza misses Jerusalem, strikes near Palestinian community in West Bank

Authorities say apparent rocket fire from Lebanon has struck Israel as long-range rocket fire from Gaza continued for a fourth day.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said a projectile struck near Israel’s northern border. The military responded with artillery fire toward the source in Lebanon.

He said it was unclear whether the new front was “symbolic or something more substantial.”

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Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said two rockets were fired Friday from the country. The Daily Star is reporting that two people were arrested in connection to the attacks.

The Beirut-based newspaper said security forces reportedly detained a suspect they believe is behind the rocket fire into Israel at a hospital.

The second suspect, a Lebanese man, was arrested after they found “blood stains in his car, which sparked a search of area hospitals for suspects.”

National News Agency said one of the men confessed to belonging to “extremist groups and that two Palestinian men were with him when he launched the rockets.”

Police are now searching for the two suspects.

The rocket attacks come a day after President Barack Obama said the United States is willing to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, as Israel was intensifying an bombardment of the Gaza Strip in an attempt to thwart rocket fire targeting Israel.

The White House said Obama condemned the rocket attacks and said Israel has the right to self-defence. But Obama also urged both sides not to escalate the crisis and to restore calm.

Obama also relayed concerns about a Palestinian-American teenager who was detained and apparently beaten by Israeli authorities. Obama says Israel has worked to resolve that situation.

READ MORE: Israel accuses Hamas of using Gaza civilians as human shields

Gaza death toll from Israeli strikes tops 100

The death toll from Israeli strikes on Gaza continues to climb after four days of air raids from both sides.

At least 100 people have been killed in Gaza since Tuesday—the majority of them civilians.

A family of eight died in a strike on the city of Khan Yunis, 30 kilometres south of Gaza City, when Israeli military planes fired on their home.

Five of the victims were reported to be children.

At least 18 children have died in the more than 800 strikes on the Gaza Strip since Israel began what it calls Operation Protective Edge early Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza released the names and ages of the people confirmed dead since Israel began striking targets: the youngest an 18-month-old child, the oldest an 80-year-old woman.

WATCH: Global National team coverage of the crisis in Israel and Gaza

World Cup watchers killed in air strike

Ma’an News also reported another nine people were killed when an Israeli strike destroyed a beach cafe where people had gathered to watch the World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands, after people had ended their Ramadan fast for the night.

“It was a normal social occasion,” Agence France-Press quoted Wael Soboh, a local policeman employed by the Palestinian Authority, saying. “The boys ate their Ramadan iftar meal here, and then began watching the match. It is not a military area.”

Another 15 people suffered injuries in that attack.

UPDATES: What’s happening in Israel and the Palestinian territories

No resolution as rockets continue to fly

Neither Israel nor Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and has claimed responsibility for most of the rocket attacks launched against Israel, show signs of relenting.

Israel says that Hamas must cease rocket fire from Gaza for Israel to consider a truce. Militants have fired hundreds of rockets, striking across the length of Israel and disrupting life across the country.

“We don’t want a cease fire. Our goal is to dismantle the Hamas rocket infrastructure,” Haaretz reported Israel’s UN Envoy Ron Prosor saying.

Prosor’s comment at the UN Security Council on Thursday followed a warning from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the “risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza” and the human cost of the current face-off.

“Once again civilians are paying the price for the continuation of conflict,” Ban said. “My paramount concern is the safety and well-being of all civilians, no matter where they are. It pains me – and it should pain us all – to be reliving circumstances that are all too reminiscent of the two most recent wars in Gaza.”

WATCH: United Nations Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon says Palestinian civilians are trapped between Hamas “irresponsibility” and Israel’s “tough response”

Injuries caused by rocket-fire from Gaza into Israel—by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad—have been comparatively few compared to those in the Gaza Strip and no Israelis have died.

The Times of Israel reported several people were injured when a mortar fell in Eshkol, but dozens have been treated at for shock this week at Israeli hospitals.

Israeli media reported a man had been seriously injured when a mortar hit Ashdod, but emergency services later dismissed any report of injury.

Two IDF said two of its soldiers were injured late Thursday when a strike hit southern Israel, near the Gaza border.

Meantime, Palestinian officials said the estimated number of injuries in the Gaza Strip is at least 567.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) credits its Iron Dome mobile missile defence system with stopping dozens of rockets from hitting Israeli cities, intercepting at least 70 projectiles so far this week—including attacks on Jerusalem and Ashkelon earlier Thursday.

READ MORE: Israel’s mobile missile defence system – What is the Iron Dome?

The IDF said more than 100 rockets from Gaza hit areas of Israel on Thursday alone, while the Iron Dome intercepted at least 20.

Rockets and projectiles fired into Israel Thursday hit areas near Jerusalem.

One of four rockets aimed at Jerusalem fell in the West Bank, not far from a Palestinian Beadouin settlement, according to The Times of Israel.

According to Israeli media, rockets also struck Ashdod, Beersheba, Sha’ar Hangev Regional Council and near Tel Aviv.

’Blow up Tel Aviv,’ Hamas says in song: report

The Times of Israel, using a translation from a group called Palestinian Media Watch, reported a song broadcast on the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV called for attacks on the cities of Tel Aviv and Ashkelon.

“O [Hamas’] Al-Qassam [Brigades],
Fire without asking on (southern Israel’s) Eshkol
To return (the Israeli city) Ashkelon
Let the thieving [Israeli] army lament and go down to the shelters
Let them go down to the shelters
O Al-Qassam, fire your rockets
Make them explode and write your history
O Al-Qassam, victory is from Allah
In Paradise there is a Garden [for Martyrs] calling to you
Fajar 5 [rocket], O blaze, hurry, destroy Tel Aviv
O Martyrdom-seeker (i.e., suicide bomber), O blaze, hurry, blow up Tel Aviv.”

Israel escalates aerial offensive on Gaza

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said the operation was going according to plan, with Israel targeting various Hamas interests.

“The military’s successes so far have been very significant,” he said. “We will continue until they understand that this escalation is not beneficial to them and that we will not tolerate rocket fire toward our towns and citizens.”

Longer range rockets disrupt life across Israel

The longer range of the rockets fired from Gaza has disrupted life across southern and central Israel, where people have been forced to remain close to home, and kindergartens and summer camps have closed. Israeli television has been a constant news loop with updates from both sides of the border and even radio music stations were interrupting songs with news of every siren informing of incoming rockets.

“We heard the siren and we immediately entered the home shelter,” said Avraham Nachum, from the southern Israeli town of Netivot. “One of the boys was in the shower. He didn’t manage to step outside of the shower on time.”

Besides firing toward Israel’s two largest cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Hamas also launched a rocket that reached the town of Zichron Yaakov, more than 100 kilometres north of Gaza.

WATCH: Footage released by Hamas on Thursday purports to show “locally made” rockets being fired towards Tel Aviv and Haifa in northern Israel

Hamas endangering civilians: Israel

Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Hamas is firing rockets from “within houses and streets and neighbourhoods which are populated with civilians … exposing these civilians to retaliation and to backfire.”

Israel accuses militants of deliberately endangering civilians by using homes and other civilian buildings for cover. The military has also directly targeted the offices and homes of known militants that it says are used as command centres. The military typically contacts the families first to ask civilians to evacuate before striking its targets.

WATCH: Israeli airstrike slams into Gaza Strip target

With files from The Associated Press

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