by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Chances to mediate clam amid a growing tension between Israel and Islamic Hamas movement narrows after nine militants were killed in separate Israeli airstrikes, senior Hamas officials said on Monday.
"Blood for blood and those who ignite the fire will be burnt by its firepower. The blood of our martyrs won't go in vain," said Hamas movement in an emailed leaflet.
Tension between Israel and Hamas-led militants groups in the Gaza Strip have been growing since the kidnapping and the killing of three Israeli teenage settlers in southern West Bank last month. Tension reached its peak after a Palestinian teenager was killed near east Jerusalem early in July.
Overnight Sunday and in early Monday, Palestinian militants fired more than 50 rockets, projectiles and mortars from the Gaza Strip into Israel, while Israeli war jets carried out dozens of airstrikes on military facilities in the region.
Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza's emergency chief, told reporters that nine Palestinians were killed. Hamas confirmed that seven militants were among the dead.
Hamas criticized Israel in its statement that the Jewish state speaking about restraint while at the same time killing people in "Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem and in our lands occupied in 1948."
On Sunday, Egypt's ambassador in Ramallah Wa'el Atteyah told the local Ma'an news agency that his country has been working hard in a bid to restore calm over the past few days.
However, senior Hamas leader in Gaza Mushir al-Masri denied that the Egyptian intelligence security asked his movement to calm down by stopping firing rockets into Israel.
Earlier, an Israeli Radio reported that the Egyptian security intelligence asked Hamas to halt its rocket attacks, yet the Islamist movement refused to do so. Al-Masri refuted the report, saying it is not true. Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri said in an emailed press statement that the killing of nine militants is a very dangerous escalation, adding that retaliation is needed to show that the armed group is unbreakable.
On Monday, Hamas raied more rockets on Israel. The wavas of attacks lightly injured an Israeli soldier and damaged several cars, said Israel Radio.
The Radio quoted an Israeli army spokesman as saying that Israeli army air forces carried out 14 airstrikes on various militant targets all across the area, including several weapon storage facilities.
Hanan Ashrawi, member of Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, called on the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting "to stop the well-programmed Israeli aggression and the massacres of the brutal Israeli occupation on our people."