Israeli jets bomb Gaza after rocket fire

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ASHDOD, Israel, Sept 16, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Israel bombed Gaza on Wednesday
morning after rocket fire from the territory coinciding with Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu’s signing of normalisation deals with the UAE and Bahrain
in Washington.

At least two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip the previous evening,
one of which was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.

The other crashed into the southern coastal city of Ashdod, lightly
wounding at least two people, emergency services said.

The Israel Defence Forces said their fighter jets responded with air
strikes on military targets belonging to Hamas, which controls the Gaza
Strip.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket fire from the
various Palestinian factions operating in Gaza.

But the IDF levelled blame at Hamas and warned that it would “bear the
consequences for terror activity against Israeli civilians”.

The rocket attack came as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed
accords establishing diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, prompting
demonstrations in the Palestinian territories.

Clutching Palestinian flags and wearing blue face masks for protection
against coronavirus, demonstrators rallied in the West Bank cities of Nablus
and Hebron and in Gaza.

Hundreds also took part in a demonstration in Ramallah, home of the
Palestinian Authority (PA).

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas warned that the deals would “not achieve
peace in the region” until the US and Israel acknowledged his people’s right
to a state.

“Peace, security and stability will not be achieved in the region until the
Israeli occupation ends,” he said.

The normalisation by the UAE and Bahrain breaks with decades of consensus
within the Arab world that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is a
prerequisite for establishing ties with the Jewish state.

Abbas warned that “attempts to bypass the Palestinian people and its
leadership, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organisation, will have
dangerous consequences”.

In Gaza, protesters trampled on and set fire to placards bearing images of
the leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

That latest rocket fire came after a month in which militants in the strip
had stepped up incendiary balloon attacks against Israel, which responded
with nighttime air strikes against Hamas.

The two sides last month reached a Qatari-mediated deal to end hostilities
and revive a fragile 18-month truce.

Hamas has joined the PA in condemning the UAE and Bahraini accords as a
“betrayal” of their cause.

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