x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Israel hit by Gaza mortars after Palestinian prisoner's death

Gaza militants fired on southern Israel yesterday, hours after the death in custody of a Palestinian who suffered from cancer.

GAZA CITY // Gaza militants fired on southern Israel yesterday, hours after the death in custody of a Palestinian who suffered from cancer.

Witnesses said that militants in Gaza City had fired three mortar rounds on Israel.

The Israeli army initially said only one projectile had landed on its territory, without causing any casualties, but later issued a statement denying that the mortars had reached Israel.

"It turns out that nothing fell on Israeli territories," a spokeswoman said.

There was no claim of responsibility from the Palestinian side.

The death yesterday morning of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a 63-year-old prisoner from Hebron who had been suffering from throat cancer, sparked Palestinian anger with officials blaming Israel for allegedly refusing to release him early on compassionate grounds.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the faction was watching the developments with "the greatest concern" and that Israel would "regret its continuing crimes".

It was the third instance of rocket fire since the end of a deadly eight-day confrontation between Israel and Hamas militants in November which ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce that has been almost completely respected.

The last time rocket fire hit Israel was on March 21 during a visit by US President Barack Obama, when two rockets landed causing some damage but no injuries.