The Latest: US seeks urgent UN meeting on Gaza rocket attack
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the violence along the Israel-Gaza border (all times local):
The United States has called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council after Gaza militants fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israeli, wounding three soldiers.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said it expects the meeting to take place Wednesday afternoon.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the Security Council “should be outraged and respond” to the largest attacks out of Gaza since 2014, which she said are “directed at innocent Israeli civilians.”
Haley said “the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza.”
The sudden firing of dozens of mortars and rockets follows weeks of mass Palestinian protests along the Gaza border with Israel. Over 110 Palestinians, many of them unarmed protesters, have been killed by Israeli fire. Israel says it holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for the bloodshed.
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon called on the Security Council and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “strongly condemn Hamas and hold the terrorist organization accountable for these latest attacks.”
Israel is calling on world governments to condemn rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon says the government expects “decision makers around the world” to issue “unilateral condemnations of the terror attacks.”
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least 50 rockets and mortars into southern Israel on Tuesday, the largest barrage since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
Earlier Tuesday, Emanuele Giaufret, the EU envoy to Israel, tweeted that “indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable and to be condemned unreservedly.” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney tweeted that “this Hamas led violence undermines Palestinian cause + is counterproductive to political progress.”
Israeli troops have boarded one of two Gaza boats that set out to break the naval blockade of the coastal territory in a largely symbolic protest.
The Israeli military says troops boarded the vessel without incident on Tuesday and detained 17 people. The ship will be towed to the port at Ashdod after it is searched. The second boat returned to Gaza on its own.
The two fishing boats, carrying students and medical patients, set sail out of Gaza City’s port on Tuesday, aiming to reach Cyprus and break an 11-year naval blockade that Egypt and Israel imposed after Hamas seized power in Gaza.
Israel bars Gaza boats from going more than six miles (10 kilometers) into the Mediterranean Sea. Organizers of the flotilla protest said the one boat managed to sail six miles beyond the blockade before it was stopped.
The military said it would provide medical treatment to those in need and, after questioning, return them to the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military says three soldiers have been wounded by fire from the Gaza Strip.
The army said two soldiers were lightly wounded and the third was moderately wounded in Tuesday’s incidents. There were no further details on the exact cause or extent of the injuries.
It says several projectiles were launched from Gaza over the past hour toward southern Israel, and that the Iron Dome rocket-defense system made several interceptions.
Tensions have soared over the past two months as the Palestinians have held mass protests along the Gaza-Israel frontier against a decade-long blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Israeli fire has killed more than 100 Palestinians at the protests since March.
Israeli jets have dropped several bombs at what security officials say was an Islamic Jihad militant training site in central Gaza.
No injuries were reported in the Israeli bombing on Tuesday. Smoke was seen rising near the town of Deir al-Balah in the coastal strip. The Israeli military said the explosions there were related to its activity.
Israel has threatened to retaliate after more than 25 mortar shells were fired from Gaza earlier in the day toward southern Israeli communities. It appeared to be the largest number fired in a single incident since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. One of the shells landed near a kindergarten shortly before it opened.
The border area has been tense in recent weeks as Palestinians have held mass protests aimed at lifting an Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas seized power in 2007.
—Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip;
Palestinian activists have set sail in defiance of years of an Israeli and Egyptian naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Two fishing boats carrying 20 people in need of travel left the territory’s small harbor on Tuesday.
Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers say the move is symbolic. It’s unlikely that Israel will let the boats exceed the six-nautical-mile limit it imposes on Gaza.
Occupants include medical patients and students unable to leave through overland crossings.
Israel and Egypt sealed off their border when Hamas violently took over from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
The expedition also marks eight years since Israeli commandos raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine pro-Palestinian Turks and sparking an international outcry against the blockade.
The Israeli military says more than 25 mortar shells have been fired from the Gaza Strip toward communities in southern Israel. No one was hurt in the barrage.
The military says most were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system on Tuesday.
But the volume of mortars would appear to be the largest fired in a single incident since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. Israeli media reported that one of shells landed near a kindergarten shortly before it opened.
The border area has been tense in recent weeks as the Palestinians have held mass protests aimed at lifting a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized power in 2007.
Israeli fire has killed more than 110 Palestinians, most of them during the Hamas-led protests, which climaxed on May 14.