Southern Israel has been hit by a fresh round of rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip.
Despite the damage, there were no immediate reports of Israeli casualties. But the latest violence deals a blow to any hopes of a renewed truce between Israel and Palestinian militants. Hamas which runs the coastal enclave and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility, saying the barrage was to avenge the killing of three Palestinian gunmen by Israeli troops. In response to the attacks, Israel reversed a decision to re-open Gaza border crossings to allow aid deliveries through. Their closure has increased hardship in the impoverished territory whose main power plant has been forced to shut down. “There is no gas and no kerozene,” said Gaza resident Majd Abu Snem “We have had no electricity for the last two days. We prepared dough to make bread but it is still at home waiting to be baked.” As the blockade continues to bear down on Gaza, Egypt is pursuing diplomatic efforts to restore calm.