Smoke rises over Gaza as Israeli military renews bombing

15 July, 2018, 13:26 | Author: Donnie King
  • Israel strikes Gaza militant sites, Palestinians fire rockets

A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militant groups appeared to be holding on Sunday, ending the most intensive flare-up in violence around the Palestinian enclave since a 2014 war.

"Egyptian and global efforts succeeded in ending the current round of escalation", a Palestinian official told Reuters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 11.

Israeli fighter jets struck two "Hamas terror tunnels" one in southern Gaza and one in the north as well as other infrastructure across the coastal territory, the military said in statements posted on Twitter.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said the teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were killed by shrapnel from an Israeli attack on the training facility.

"The Israeli armed forces delivered the strongest blow against Hamas since (the 2014 Gaza war) and we will increase the intensity of our attacks as necessary".

Sirens wailed overnight and throughout most of the day Saturday in southern Israel as waves of rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza amid the airstrikes.

Some of the projectiles were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system, but police said three people had been wounded in the southern town of Sderot. On Friday, after an Israeli soldier was mildly wounded by a Palestinian protester who threw a hand-grenade Israel retaliated by striking "Hamas targets".




In fresh violence Friday, a 15-year-old was shot dead during the demonstrations and a 20-year-old died later of gunshot wounds sustained during the protest, the Gaza health ministry said.

The strikes came as dozens of missiles were fired by Hamas into Israeli cities, injuring four people.

"The focus of the attack is a wide-scale strike of the Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia, which includes urban warfare training facilities, weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centers, offices and more", the IDF said in a statement. He didn't identify the mediators, but local media, quoting unidentified Hamas officials, said senior Egyptian intelligence officers and United Nations special envoy Nicolai Mladenov brokered the accord.

Thousands took part in Friday's protests, which marked 100 days since their launch, with some venturing close to the border fence, burning tyres and throwing stones.

The "March of Return" protests have also seen Palestinians fly airborne incendiary devices toward Israeli territory, sparking hundreds of fires in southern Israel and causing millions of shekels in estimated damages.

The army earlier on Saturday said it targeted two Hamas attack tunnels as well as other military compounds in the Strip, including those involved in the spate of incendiary kite and balloon attacks.

Israel says it is defending its sovereign border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover for attempts to breach the border fence and attack civilians and soldiers.

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