Gaza and Israel
A Palestinian militant from the DFLP attends the funeral of his comrade Ahmed Jargoon in Rafah Reuters

Despite a call for mediation, Palestinian militants in Gaza renewed a rocket attack on Israel, firing seven missiles at the cities of Be'er Sheva and Sderot.

The attack followed a weekend of intense fighting between insurgent group Islamic Jihad and Israeli Defense Forces. After a brief truce, an intensive back and forth between Israel and the militants resulted in a number of deaths, according to The Associated Press.

The Israeli military has been battling rocket-firing Palestinian militant squads for several days. The fighting has killed at least 10 Palestinian militants and an Israeli civilian. It is the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in months.

Additionally, a number of cars in Israel were destroyed by Grad missiles and several buildings have been damaged.

Egypt has again been called upon to broker a negotiation between the two sides. Earlier this month, Egypt successfully acted as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, helping the two sides pen a deal that released an Israeli soldier in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

According to the Jerusalem Post, there is a power struggle in Gaza, and Islamic Jihad could be poised to take control of the region away from Hamas, the once militant group that now is the chief political entity in the Palestinian settlement.

With the help of Iran and Syria, Islamic Jihad has become a major player in the Palestinian arena. The organization's leaders now visit Cairo and other Arab capitals, where they are received as VIPs.

The Islamic Jihad is beginning to emerge as a major challenge to the Hamas regime, especially given the fact that dozens of disgruntled Hamas members are reported to have defected to Islamic Jihad. Former Fatah security officers, some of whom were trained by the US and EU, are also believed to have joined Islamic Jihad in the past few years...

Some Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said on Sunday that Hamas is probably afraid of a violent confrontation with Islamic Jihad, whose members have managed to smuggle into the Gaza Strip new weapons stolen from Libya...

Besides, Hamas can't afford to be seen as playing the role of border guard for Israel. Until today, Hamas maintains it's the PA that is playing this role in the West Bank, the Palestinians said.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that his country would act with strength and determination in stopping militants targeting Israelis.

Whoever attacks Israel is risking his life, Netanyahu stated.

The Prime Minister also noted that Israel's new anti-missile defense system, Iron Dome, successfully shot down a number of incoming projectiles, and could be used to attack militants in the future.

Our defense strategies cannot be based on defensive measures alone, he said. It has to include an offensive capability as well. That is the foundation of our deterrence.

Despite the harsh rhetoric coming from Israeli leaders, some are claiming that Israel broke the ceasefire first. Members of the International Solidarity Movement said that they were shot at by Israeli soldiers in south Gaza on Friday, and reported that tanks have been entering Gaza and the village of Khuza'a on a daily basis.

I heard a strange whiz, a whistle, eerily close to my ear. I paused, a bullet? [A boy in a] red hoodie and two younger boys up ahead hit the floor as I momentarily pondered the strange sound.

The kids turned around and yelled at us to stupid foreigners to get down. We bent down and started to walk away - fast - and they yelled at us to get completely on the ground. The Israeli army left us no time to be scared. No gunshots over our heads. No warnings. A second bullet whizzed past the three kids, and then us. The Israelis were shooting at us from the towers 500 meters ahead.