Israel files U.N. complaint over mortar barrage


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s foreign minister filed a formal complaint with the United Nations following the heaviest barrage of mortar shells on southern Israel in two years.

More than 50 mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, according to reports. Two Israelis were injured by shrapnel, and homes and buildings sustained damage.

The armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for most of the explosives.

Israel’s military struck several Hamas targets with tanks and aerial fire in Gaza later Saturday in response to the barrage. The strike lasted some 45 minutes, Ynet reported. The bodies of two Palestinians who were suspected of planting a bomb were found the next day near the Gaza-Israel border, according to reports.

Last Friday, 10 mortars were fired on Israel from Gaza.

In the complaint to the United Nations, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman decried international support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying that it would be a "terrorist state whose primary goal is the destruction of Israel." He also noted that the attack on Israel came as Hamas and the Fatah Party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were talking about reconciliation.

Israel also filed a formal complaint with the U.N. Security Council on March 18 over its seizure of the cargo ship Victoria, which was transporting concealed arms from Iran via Syria to Gaza via Egypt. 

Meanwhile, gunmen claiming to be from Hamas on Saturday raided the Gaza offices of the Reuters news agency, striking one employee with a metal bar, and smashing a television and other equipment. The gunmen also raided the offices of CNN and the Japanese station NHK.


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