LONDON — Aug 9, 2018, 4:05 PM ET

Pregnant mother and child killed as conflict between Israel, Hamas escalates

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Israeli airstrikes have killed at least three people, including a pregnant mother and her 18-month-old child, after the Israeli military and Hamas traded fire overnight and into Thursday afternoon, the Gaza Health Ministry reported.

Emergency sirens sounded in the Israeli city of Beersheba, some 25 miles from Gaza Thursday afternoon, after several hours of calm. Israeli jets hit Gaza, again, flattening what Palestinians called a cultural center in the al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City.

In a tweet, the Israeli military said Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza, had "used the building for military purposes."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet said in a statement late Thursday that it had directed the Israeli military "to continue taking strong action" against militants in Gaza.

The escalation of the conflict in the last 24 hours comes as Egypt attempts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. But by Thursday evening, no ceasefire had been reached. Egypt said they were keeping the pressure on both sides while the United Nations appealed for calm.

The Israeli military says at least seven people were wounded in Israel in border towns, including two Thai workers, after at least 180 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The military said that the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted at least 30 rockets and the majority landed in open areas. The military says they targeted more than 150 Hamas militant targets in the Gaza strip.

"Among the sites targeted were a weapons manufacturing and a storage facility, a complex used for the Hamas' naval force and a military compound used for rocket launching experiments," the Israeli military said in a statement.

Kamal Khamash, the brother-in-law of the pregnant mother who died alongside her child, told the Associated Press that the family was asleep when the projectile hit the house. The mother and daughter died immediately and the father is in critical condition, Kamal told the AP.

PHOTO: Smoke plumes rise following an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, Aug. 8, 2018.Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke plumes rise following an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, Aug. 8, 2018.

"This is a blatant crime and Israel is responsible for it," he added.

In a statement Thursday morning, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said he was "deeply alarmed" by the flare-up.

PHOTO: Palestinians gather around a building after it was bombed by an Israeli aircraft, in Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Palestinians gather around a building after it was bombed by an Israeli aircraft, in Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.

"Our collective efforts have prevented the situation from exploding until now," Mladenov said. "If current escalation, however, is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people."

PHOTO: Smoke billows during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke billows during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.

In a statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for the international community to step in, blaming Israel for "the escalation on our people in the Gaza Strip."

A Hamas spokesperson, Abdul Latif al-Qanoa, said that Hamas militants were "defending its people against the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza as part of its national duty."

In a statement, Hamas added that they hold Israel responsible for the latest escalation and called for international intervention "to prevent the rapid escalation on the ground."

PHOTO: Palestinians look at damage at the site of an Israeli air strike in Al-Mughraqa on the outskirts of Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Palestinians look at damage at the site of an Israeli air strike in Al-Mughraqa on the outskirts of Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.

Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told the AP that Israel "had ground troops that are ready to deploy. We are reinforcing the southern command and Gaza division."

PHOTO: Smoke rises following Israeli air strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza City, Aug. 8, 2018.Haitham Imad/EPA via Rex/Shutterstock
Smoke rises following Israeli air strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza City, Aug. 8, 2018.

News - Pregnant mother and child killed as conflict between Israel, Hamas escalates

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  • whitepine

    If there is a Jewish and Christian God, He needs to work on bringing peace and live to the country Isreal that He created.

  • rick315

    gotta love the headline if you are an Israeli basher.............truth be told.......who is responsible for the death of any Gazan following the launching of 200 rockets and mortars from Gaza into civilian areas of Israel? really, who? I guess the headline writer and the editors don't really care who.

  • TexasVulcan

    I doubt somehow that Israel forced anyone to fire rockets into their country. Until Hamas denounces violence and accepts Israel's right to exist, they will be labeled as terrorists.

  • MikeSanders90

    Israel is the blot of the Jewish people - prove that some Jews are indeed inferior to other Jews.

  • disqus_7Qw73LfCUQ

    Hamas asking for International intervention means it's about to get it's tail kicked by Israel!

  • stevyy

    You can hear the religious chants after the explosions...Is it lost on anyone that religion, by and large is not only a joke, but also the center of human conflict for as long as recorded history? To say nothing of its use to control people and amass wealth by a few for the same period.

    Religion is a human scourge, IMO...

  • Timulculin

    Just cut off money from all sides and let them shoot it out.

  • Davey Jones

    Earth to media -- hello? hello? Anyone home? - Why is the lead title of this about a dead human shield ? - Hamas started a new war for no reason, launching 70 missiles before Israel even responded all the way up to Beersheba. And the UN actually specifically condemned Hamas for initiating a completely un-necessary round of violence while negotiating a long term ceasefire via Egypt. That is the real story. US media is really terrible to Israel.

  • ChallyFever

    Palestinians blame Israel for the escalation yet ignore the 180 rockets hamas launched 1st. How convenient.

  • Peter Pant

    i thought trump is going to bring peace to the middle east. oh wait it’s one of his broken promises, never mind.

  • Th3OnlyOn3

    "Who is Hamas?"
    Terrorists.

  • Junya

    It looks like Israel is getting ready to stomp on those stupid people again...

    Israel is by no means innocent in all of this but the Palestinians are clearly continuing the violence trying to incite the Israelis to retaliate.

  • Junya

    Hey Palestinians! Stop shooting rockets at Israel. I bet they will stop bombing you.

  • rontron

    I have to wonder if HAMAS falsified the election results in order to get elected. There has been no progress towards a peaceful settlement in favor of the Palestinian people since. The leaders of HAMAS don't even live there, they live in Qatar, its safer there..

  • Scanlan

    I thought Hamas was considered a terrorist organization by the US and the EU. Why is ABC showing their support for them and trying to make them look like underdog heroes?

  • ShawnLetwin

    Hamas continues escalation by repeatedly attacking Israel. During Israels defense of its country in knocking out Hamas military sites, Gazans are killed/hurt.

    Hey Hamas...quit attacking and your fellow Gazan citizens can live in peace...go figure.

    Shame on MSM outlets from not reporting the obvious. These outlets and their affiliate businesses need to be targeted by the mainstream public and boycotted economically.

  • Rick

    In, the late 70's, Israel made Peace after the 1967 war. Israel returned the Sinai back to Egypt. But when Israel offered to return the Gaza to Egypt, they were told "No thanks".....Gaza belonged to Egypt. Likewise, when Israel made Peace with Jordan, they offered half of the West Bank back, but was also told "No thanks" Both Egypt and Jordan knew that the inhabitants of those lands are troublemakers, and wanted nothing to do with them. To this day, the Gaza is sealed off from Egypt, and Palestinian refugees are placed in camps in Lebanon, Syria and are not welcome. There never has been a country of Palestine.....it is a geographical term, like New England, or Pacific Northwest. In Roman times, Palestine included Gaza, Israel, Judea, Samaria and parts of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

  • gs12

    "Who is Hamas?"

    Hamas is a terrorist group that if it came here and launched rockets, it would be exterminated. I wonder if ABC and other media outlets would still want to be the mouthpiece of Hamas if that were the case.

  • lainsmo

    The generous restraint that Israel practices in the face of continual terrorist aggression is truly remarkable.

  • zamiatin

    What biased reporting that completely diminishes the unprovoked attacks on Israel.