Israeli fighter jets struck dozens of sites across the Gaza Strip early on Saturday.
The airstrikes followed a bloody day of protests at the fence separating Israel from the besieged Strip, in which Israeli forces shot and killed five Palestinians.
It is midnight now. But it seems that the sun was shining before its time .. It is pictures of the continuous shelling of #Gaza. And the sound of the rockets hit us with panic and fear.#GazaUnderAttack now ? pic.twitter.com/BNKnWMclZ2
— Mustafa D. Batnain | Gaza ✌?? (@mustafa_batnain) October 26, 2018
The bloodshed complicated the mission of Egyptian mediators, who have intensified shuttle diplomacy to achieve calm and prevent a full-blown conflict between Hamas and Israel.
There was no word on injuries as a result of the air strikes.
— Farah Baker (@Farah_Gazan) October 26, 2018
The sides have fought three wars over the past decade, and Israel and Egypt have maintained a stifling blockade on the territory. The weekly protests along the fence have been aimed in large part at breaking the blockade, which has devastated the Gaza economy.
#Breaking Due to the unrelenting Israeli airstrikes, Palestinian children r being evacuated from their schools, amid fear and Panic. #Gaza
On Wednesday, Egyptian intelligence officials met representatives of Palestinian factions in Gaza. Loay Qarouti of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command said the mediators asked them “to protect the lives of protesters and minimize losses among them”.
— Shehab News (@ShehabAgencyEn) October 26, 2018
Egypt wants to restore calm in order to pursue the broader goal of Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and the West Bank-based administration of President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas lost control of Gaza in the 2007 takeover.
But Hamas maintains it wants a full lifting of a crippling blockade Israel and Egypt imposed on Gaza to isolate the movement.
Since the marches began on March 30, at least 210 Palestinians present or taking part in the protests have been killed and more than 18,000 were wounded.
Israeli forces shot and killed 4 Palestinians who were protesting on the Gaza border. pic.twitter.com/6MD6AoYQ3b
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 26, 2018
Israel has come under heavy international criticism for what many see as excessive use of force and the large number of unarmed people who have been shot.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)