Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza

Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza

It hasn't recovered from three devastating wars with Israel, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has deepened the hardship with economic sanctions on Gaza meant to batter Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday's attacks targeted Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists, whom Israel accuses of stoking violence with the "Great March of Return" demonstrations, which have included attempts to breach Israel's border fence.

Hamas on Saturday said the barrage of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory overnight was sacked by the "resistance" to "stop Israeli escalation".

Hamas said it fired the rockets to deter Israel from further action.

Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza
Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza

The exchange threatens to spark a further conflagration after weeks of tensions along the volatile border.

Shortly after, more than a dozen rockets were fired toward Israel, according to the Associated Press, with no reports of casualties on either side.

At least 140 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests and clashes broke out along the border on March 30.

Health officials in Gaza said the building was empty, but two Palestinians aged 15 and 16, among a crowd in a nearby public park, were killed. 'We have no intention to harm anyone who is not a terrorist, ' he said.

He was referring to a border protest Friday in which two Palestinians were killed.

Israel blamed Hamas for the escalation, pointing to months of protests and clashes along the border that its military argues the Islamist movement is seeking to use as cover for attacks. It said paramedics in the southern city of Sderot were treating a 52-year-old man with a chest wound, a 17-year-old girl with a face wound and a 20-year-old woman with injuries to her limbs.

"In consultation with the minister of defence, the chief of staff and the top security command of the state of Israel, we have decided on strong action against Hamas terrorism", Mr Netanyahu said in a video statement.

The Israeli troops fired live ammunition and tear gas shells towards the demonstrators, leaving over people injured, the Gaza Health Ministry also reported.

The Israeli army said air strikes carried out in the morning hit "complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility".

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

Israel's army said Saturday's strikes targeted military facilities belonging to Hamas.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the latest Israeli sortie, the third of the day, struck some 40 Hamas targets including tunnels, logistical centers and a Hamas battalion headquarters. The IDF retaliated against the most recent attack.

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