Monday, 20 August, 2018

Israel and Gaza militants agree to end fierce flare-up of fighting

Palestinian mourners chant angry slogans as they carry the body of Muhammed Abu Halima 22 who was shot and killed by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel during his funeral in Gaza City on July 7. (AP Palestinian teenager killed in Gaza border protests
Leonard Rios | 15 July, 2018, 16:00

In the other direction "more than 60 rockets" were fired at southern Israel from Gaza, the Israeli military said, of which "approximately 10 rockets were intercepted".

Although there were no reports of casualties on either side, the exchange threatens to spark another conflagration after weeks of tensions along the border.

Israel said it has "delivered the strongest blow against Hamas" since 2014 with dozens of air strikes, after Gaza militant groups fired more than 100 rockets across the border.

Earlier on Friday, an Israeli soldier was injured by a grenade thrown by a terrorists during unrest on the Gaza border. Around 15,000 protesters have been injured since March 30.

"Allowing Hamas to dictate the terms of the ceasefire after two months of arson attacks and hundreds of rockets on the residents of Gaza border communities is a serious mistake".

In advance of Friday's protest, the organising committee called on Palestinians to take part in the protests to express solidarity with Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank slated for total demolition by Israeli authorities.

The surge in violence followed mounting public criticism of Netanyahu over failure to counter a new Palestinian tactic: incendiary kites and balloons launched from Gaza that have burned crops and scrubland in southern Israel.

The border protests peaked on May 14, when the United States moved its Israel embassy to the disputed city of Jerusalem, but have continued at a lower level since then.

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"We are talking about the biggest offensive strikes since Protective Edge", Air Force Brigadier General Tzvika Haimovic told journalists, referring to Israel's name for its 2014 operation in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the military said Hamas' activities "violate Israeli sovereignty, endanger Israeli civilians and sabotage Israel's humanitarian efforts that aim to help Gazan civilians".

The majority of those killed were involved in protests and clashes but others were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.

Earlier, in a statement, the Israeli army said the attacks targeted 40 military sites belonging to Hamas in the northern city of Beit Lahiya.

Molotov cocktails, flaming tyres and stones were also hurled in the direction of its soldiers, according to the Israeli army.

Witnesses say Israeli warplanes dropped four bombs on an empty building near a Hamas police and security compound, reducing the old structure to rubble.

Those projectiles caused thousands of Israelis to flee to bomb shelters from their homes, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Most recently, it has been struggling to cope with the widespread fires caused by the incendiary kites and balloons floating over the border. There, too, no injuries were reported.

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