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Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney urges restraint as latest Gaza-Israel violence claims 12 lives

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Palestinians inspect a house hit in an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza city, August 6, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Palestinians inspect a house hit in an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza city, August 6, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Palestinians inspect a house hit in an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza city, August 6, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has called for a de-escalation in tension between Israelis and Palestinians amid two days of violence in the region.

At least a dozen people have been killed by Israeli rocket attacks on Gaza, the Palestinians Health Ministry said, while hundreds of rockets have been fired towards Israel from Gaza.

The flare-up of violence came after a year of relative calm and was in response to an Israeli operation against the Islamic Jihad militant group.

“I am deeply concerned about the escalation in and around Gaza and the impact of Israeli strikes on civilians. I also condemn the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza affecting civilians,” Mr Coveney said.

“Ireland calls for de-escalation and the protection of civilians, which is an obligation under international humanitarian law. I am particularly concerned about the impact on children. Ireland calls for everybody to act with restraint and reduce tensions,” Mr Coveney added.

On Friday Isreal killed one of the group's senior commanders in a surprise daytime air strike on a high-rise building in Gaza City which drew rocket salvoes in response. 

On Saturday, Israel said it struck Islamic Jihad militants preparing to launch rockets. Additional bombings targeted three houses, witnesses said, flattening at least one as the sounds of more explosions rocked Gaza City.

Palestinian militants fired at least 160 rockets across the border, setting off air raids sirens and sending people running to bomb shelters as far as the central Israeli city of Modiin, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Most of the missiles were intercepted and there were no reports of serious casualties, according to the Israeli ambulance service.

Egyptian, UN and Qatari efforts to end the fighting are underway. Further escalation would largely depend on whether Hamas, the Islamic militant group which controls Gaza, would opt to join the fighting.

The Israeli strikes killed 12 Palestinians, including at least four more Islamic Jihad militants and a child, and have wounded at least 84 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Islamic Jihad did not provide precise details on how many of its members had been killed and signalled no immediate ceasefire. "The time now is for resistance, not a truce," a group official told Reuters.

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Overnight, the Israeli military said it had apprehended 19 Islamic Jihad militants in raids in the Israeli-occupied West Bank while targeting the group's rocket manufacturing sites and launchers in Gaza.

Around 2.3 million Palestinians are packed into the narrow coastal Gaza Strip, with Israel and Egypt tightly restricting movement of people and goods in and out of the enclave and imposing a naval blockade, citing security concerns.

Israel stopped the planned transport of fuel into Gaza shortly before it struck on Friday, crippling the territory's lone power plant and reducing electricity to around eight hours per day.

The frontier had been largely quiet since May 2021, when 11 days of fierce fighting between Israel and militants left at least 250 in Gaza and 13 in Israel dead.

With additional reporting from Reuters.


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