The Latest: Israel says jihadist group starting new fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Israel-Palestinian conflict: (all times local):

6:25 p.m.

The Israeli military says the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group instigated the current round of Gaza-Israel violence.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an army spokesman, told reporters Saturday that the Iranian-backed group shot an Israeli officer and a female soldier the previous day.

He said the PIJ did not coordinate the shooting with Hamas, the larger militant movement that rules Gaza. But on Saturday, both factions fired 150 rockets toward Israel, a day after an Israeli retaliatory strike killed two Hamas militants.

Conricus noted that the shooting of soldiers, who were moderately and slightly wounded, respectively, happened as leaders of the two Palestinian groups were in Egypt for talks on cementing a cease-fire.

Israel hit 30 Gaza targets, including a “high-end Islamic Jihad tunnel” prepared to attack Israel, according to Conricus.


4 p.m.

A rescue agency says rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have wounded an Israeli woman.

Magen David Adom, the national medical service, said Saturday that a 50-year-old woman was severely wounded in a rocket explosion.

Earlier, MDA said a 15-year-old boy was mildly injured while running for cover from incoming missiles.

In Gaza, meanwhile, Hamas’ al-Aqsa radio reported that a Palestinian was injured in the latest Israeli airstrike.

A cross-border exchange of rockets and airstrikes persisted through the day Saturday.


3:10 p.m.

The Israeli military says its aircraft have begun targeting militant sites in Gaza in retaliation for a flurry of rockets fired from the blockaded enclave into southern Israel.

The army said in a statement Saturday that 10 sites belonging to the territory’s Hamas rulers and the smaller Islamic Jihad group were hit.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Earlier on Saturday, Palestinian militants fired about 100 rockets into southern Israel, damaging a house, Israeli authorities said. Airstrikes soon afterward killed a 22-year-old Palestinian.

The flare-up began Friday when Gaza militants wounded two Israeli soldiers moderately and lightly, respectively. Israeli retaliatory airstrikes killed two Hamas militants. Another two Palestinians were killed during weekly border protests.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders are in Cairo to bolster a fraying deal that was hoped to achieve a long-term cease-fire in Gaza.


10:40 a.m.

The Israeli military says Palestinian militants are firing rockets from the Gaza Strip.

The army said Saturday that sirens warning of incoming projectiles sounded several times in southern Israel.

In response, Israeli aircraft targeted two launch sites in northern Gaza. Local media reported three Palestinian casualties.

The deadly flare-up between Israel and Gaza militants enters a second day, shattering a monthlong Egyptian-mediated easing of hostilities.

On Friday, Israel said two soldiers were wounded by gunshots from the Hamas-controlled territory. No group claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Israeli aircraft carried out retaliatory strikes, killing two Hamas militants. Two other Palestinians were killed during the weekly protests along the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence.

Egypt has been trying to reach a long-term cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, who fought three wars the past decade.

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