United Nations trying to calm the escalation after Israel strikes Gaza

GAZA/PNN/

One Palestinian was killed and ten others were wounded in new Israeli escalation against Gaza strip, according to local sources.

The Ministry of Health announced the death of Ali Ghandour, 30, and that six others were wounded after being hit by an Israeli bombardment in the northern Gaza Strip

Israel Occoupation Forces launched air strikes on Wednesday on Gaza after dozens of rockets were fired from an enclave into its territory, with injuries reported on both sides.

The Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in the UN, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a Statement published by United Nations on the situation in Gaza:“I am deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today’s multiple rockets fired towards communities in southern Israel.

For months I have been warning that the humanitarian, security and political crisis in Gaza risks a devastating conflict that nobody wants.

The UN has engaged with Egypt and all concerned parties in an unprecedented effort to avoid such a development.

Our collective efforts have prevented the situation from exploding until now. If the current escalation, however, is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people.

We will continue working hard to ensure that Gaza steps back from the brink, that all humanitarian issues are addressed and that Egyptian-led efforts to achieve intra-Palestinian reconciliation succeed.”

Earlier, local media reported that more than 70 rockets and shells were fired towards Israeli settlements in the Gaza vicinity.

Smoke plumes could be seen rising from Gaza City following the military’s announcement it was targeting “Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip.”

At least two Palestinians were wounded in raids targeting a Hamas base in the southern Gaza Strip, the enclave’s health ministry said.

The strikes came after two rockets that were launched from the coastal enclave hit Sderot settlement, near Gaza’s northern border, Israeli police and the army said.

One person was slightly wounded by shrapnel while several others were treated for shock in Sderot, the United Hatzalah medical service said.

Sirens were sounded in several areas close to the border with Gaza, warning residents to seek immediate shelter, the Israeli army said.

“As of now, 70 rocket launches were identified from Gaza towards Israel,” the army tweeted.

The majority of the rockets hit open areas while four were intercepted, it said.

Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for the rocket attacks coming from the long-blockaded coastal territory.

Israeli television broadcast images of a house and cars that were reportedly damaged by the rockets in Sderot.

Parts of the town have been closed off and police bomb disposal units were at the scene of the strikes, a spokesman for the force said.

The strikes came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas, which rules Gaza, were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.

Hamas warned Israel that it has fought three wars since 2008 that it would pay for the attack.

The escalation comes after the Hamas leadership convened for a rare meeting in Gaza on Friday.

The gathering had raised hopes a deal for a lasting truce with Israel, with the backing of Egypt and the United Nations.

Clashes along the Gaza border since the end of March have seen at least 160 Palestinians killed in Israeli firing.

One Israeli soldier had also been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper few weekes ago.