UK & World News

  • 12 July 2014, 4:10

Hamas: Israel's Main Airport Will Be Targeted

The armed wing of Hamas has threatened an imminent attack on Israel's main airport in response to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that have now reportedly killed 100 Palestinians.

The Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades warned they planned to fire rockets at Tel Aviv'sBen-Gurion international airport and they urged airlines to divert their flights for the safety of passengers.

A spokesman for Israel's Airports Authority said activity at Ben Gurionwas briefly halted after an air raid siren sounded, but operations has since resumed.

The Israeli army launched an offensive, named Operation Protective Edge, on Tuesday targeting Hamas militants in the wake of persistent rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.

With no end to the violence in sight, US President Barack Obama has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would be willing to help negotiate a truce.

Mr Netanyahu has said international pressure will not stop his country acting against militants and the operation will continue until Gaza rocket fire is halted.

Hamashealth ministry spokesman Ashraf al Qudrawas quoted by AFP as saying 100 Palestinians had been killed since then after 11 people were killed in airstrikes on Friday.

Overnight the military bombarded the city of Rafah, killing six people. Five of them, including a seven-year-old child, died in a strike on the home of an allegedIslamist militant.

According to Palestinian officials most of the victims over the past four days have been civilians, many of them children.

The Israeli military says more than 570 rockets have been fired into Israel since Tuesday alone, but there have so far been no Israeli fatalities.

Many rockets, including three spotted over Tel Aviv on Friday, have been intercepted by Israel's partly US-funded Iron Dome missile defence system.

However, one struck a petrol station in the Israeli city of Ashdodin the early hours of the morning, triggering a major blaze.

The Israeli fire service said several people were injured in the attack, one of them seriously.

One witness told Sky News' Alex Rossi he was filling up his car when air raid sirens went off.

"We heard a huge explosion and after (that) a big ball of fire and (there were) a lot of people injured," he said. "We are lucky to be alive."

For the first time at least one rocket was also reportedly launched from southern Lebanon which, according toIsraeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, struckIsrael's northern border, prompting the military to respond with artillery fire.

It is not yet known who was responsible for the attack, although fire from Lebanon has previously been blamed on radical Palestinian factions.

Southern Lebanon is also a stronghold of the Shia militant group Hezbollah which has battled Israel on numerous occasions.

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