Israel and Hamas exchange fire after day of deadly protests

15 July, 2018, 13:29 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • A balloon loaded with incendiary material is flown towards Israel by Palestinians east of Gaza City

On Saturday night, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups announced that they agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, following talks with Egypt and other worldwide bodies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We will expand the scope of our reaction to Hamas' terror attacks as much as needed".

Still, it was unclear whether the truce would hold as warning sirens were heard in southern Israel early Sunday, indicating incoming fire, AP said.

The cause of the blast, hours after a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the enclave was announced, was not immediately known.

Israel launched a barrage of airstrikes toward Gaza and Palestinian militants responded with rockets and mortar fire Saturday, killing two teenagers in Gaza and leaving injuries on both sides of the border, officials said.

The Israeli army said it carried out the strikes on Saturday, with its fighter jets targeting "complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility".

Two Palestinian teenagers have been killed and 10 others injured, according to health officials, as the Israeli military carried out its biggest daytime airstrike campaign in Gaza since the 2014 war.

Mr Netanyahu said: "The IDF has struck Hamas with the hardest blow since Operation Protective Edge and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary".

Israel Defence Forces said almost 100 rockets and mortar shells were fired in less than 24 hours, setting off warning sirens in border communities. Approximately 20 projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system and most others fell in open territory.

A 15-year-old Palestinian who tried to climb over the fence into Israel was shot dead, media reports in Gaza said.

Gaza officials said 220 others were hurt in Friday's riots.

The Israeli military said that on Saturday about 100 rockets were launched from Gaza at southern Israel, where many residents have reinforced rooms in their homes but only seconds to reach them between the time sirens blare and missiles land.

The Israeli army killed two Palestinians, including a teenage boy, and wounded hundreds at protests along the fence with Israel on Friday.

The Israeli military last reported fire from Gaza around 1:30 a.m., and said special orders put in place in southern Israel over the weekend, including a prohibition on large gatherings, had been lifted. Poverty is widespread and vital infrastructure has collapsed under a 12-year blockade by Israel, which says its aim is to curb security threats by Hamas.

A Border Guard Police officer also sustained shrapnel wounds Friday from an improvised explosive device (IED) thrown at security forces in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis.

It also cited "continuous arson attacks damaging Israeli territory on a daily basis with the launching of arson balloons from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory".



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