GAZA, August 8 (RIA Novosti) – Israeli warplanes scrambled into action to bomb the stricken Gaza Strip on Friday after Palestinian fighters responded to the end of the 72-hour ceasefire with renewed rocket attacks against Israel’s western cities, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports from the ground.
An airstrike at a building in the southwest of the Gaza city reduced to rubble a banquet hall, our correspondent said. An Israeli F-16 multirole fighter was spotted in the sky above the area at the time of the attack.
Palestinian insurgents in the Gaza Strip resumed rocket attacks on Israel at 5 a.m. GMT after the ceasefire deadline elapsed. The Israeli self-defense forces estimated the number of launches at 20. Two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile shield over the Israeli city of Ashkelon with a population of 120,000.
The Israeli military said it waited for two hours before striking back.
On July 8, Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip, known as Operation Protective Edge, with a stated goal of combating Hamas and other rival Palestinian forces. The operation involves air raids and a ground offensive.
More than 1,800 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 64 Israeli soldiers and officers have been killed in the conflict, according to the UN.