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News Wrap: Israel and Hamas resume fierce attacks

August 20, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
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GWEN IFILL: U.S. warplanes and drones have launched new attacks on the Islamic State group in Northern Iraq. The strikes hit targets near the Mosul dam. Kurdish forces recaptured the dam this week, and are trying to establish a buffer zone.

Yesterday, Islamic State militants who beheaded journalist James Foley threatened to kill another American if the airstrikes don’t stop. We will have more on the killing of James Foley after the news summary.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Israel and Hamas attacked each other today with fierce new rounds of rockets and airstrikes. One strike targeted the head of Hamas’ military wing. Gazan officials said he escaped, but his wife and infant son were killed.

Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News filed this report.

JONATHAN MILLER: In Gaza, it was a loud and dangerous night, 22 killed, many wounded, this one of the five missiles which killed the Hamas military chief’s baby boy.

Thousands of chanting mourners urged the Hamas al-Qassam Brigades to target Tel Aviv, which they did. The baby was buried today with his mother, along with the cease-fire, which had lasted 10 days. Israel says nearly 140 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militant groups into Israel since hopes of renewing that truce disintegrated.

Code red alerts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, no one killed, no one wounded. Israel responding with a vengeance, more than 80 drone and F-16 strikes. By dawn, the Gaza ghetto was going up in smoke yet again, more houses visited by the Israeli air force, from Beit Hanoun in the north to Rafah, here, right down in the south.

MAN (through interpreter): We can’t reach our homes. One day, there’s a truce. The next day, it’s off. What kind of life is this? We want to live like everyone else in the world. We are human beings.

JONATHAN MILLER: A few miles away, inside Israel, target of 3,400 unguided missiles, which have killed three civilians, that indignation and frustration is mirrored.

WOMAN: It’s impossible to live like that. And I’m sure that every mom or father that live across the board, they’re not in Israel, have to understand that this is not a normal way to live.

JONATHAN MILLER: The Israeli prime minister appeared live on national TV channels.

“Hamas will not wear us down,” he said. “This operation’s not over. Hamas will be hit with unprecedented force.”

JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, there were still more rockets and more airstrikes. In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged both sides not to let things escalate.

GWEN IFILL: Police and soldiers in Liberia fired live ammunition and tear gas today to enforce an Ebola quarantine. It’s unclear if anyone was hurt. The security forces opened fire when angry residents stormed barricades around the West Point slum in Monrovia, the country’s capital. The government quarantined the neighborhood on Tuesday, in a bid to curb the spread of the Ebola virus.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In Pakistan, thousands of demonstrators blocked entrances to parliament today. They demanded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign over for an alleged fraud in last year’s election. Crowds chanted, “Go, Nawaz, go” at blockades in front of the building.

Sharif and other lawmakers managed to leave through a heavily guarded back exit.

GHULAM HUSSAIN, Protester (through interpreter): God has given us victory, and we have reached parliament house. God willing, we will not go back until this system changes, according to the will of our leader, and a complete victory comes to us.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, the head of Pakistan’s army called for the government to negotiate with the protesters.

GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, the Supreme Court delayed a lower court ruling that struck down Virginia’s ban on gay marriage. Same-sex couples in the state would have been allowed to get married starting tomorrow morning. The high court didn’t explain its action, but most other rulings allowing gay marriage have also been put on hold.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. Navy is discharging at least 34 sailors in a cheating scandal at a nuclear training site. That word today follows February’s announcement that sailors in Charleston, South Carolina, had cheated on qualification exams. They were being trained to operate reactors on submarines and aircraft carriers. The Navy says the cheating dates back to 2007.

GWEN IFILL: Republicans in Alaska have chosen their nominee for the U.S. Senate, as the party tries to capture control of the chamber in November. Former State Attorney General Dan Sullivan held off a Tea Party challenger in Tuesday’s primary. He will face Democratic incumbent Mark Begich in November.

JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 59 points to close at 16,979. The Nasdaq fell a point to close at 4,526. And the S&P 500 added nearly five points to finish at 1,986.