Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza

Israel exchanges intense fire with Hamas militants in Gaza”

Israeli military aircraft also fired three missiles at Salahuddin military site in the central Gaza Strip, before pounding an open area near Queen roundabout east of Gaza City.

The groups said Egyptian mediation efforts had succeeded in brokering a truce ending an intense daylong round of violence, the Associated Press reported.

A spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister did not immediately comment on the ceasefire. A senior Israeli defense official said, "Only the facts on the ground will dictate our further response".

The strikes, which also included weapons manufacturing sites and storage facilities, came after a barrage of Hamas rockets were aimed at Israel late on Friday and Saturday. The military said it identified about 60 launches of rockets and mortars from Gaza toward Israeli territory, of which about 10 were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Three Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the city of Sderot near the Gaza Strip, authorities said.

Israeli warplanes targeted an under-construction building in al-Katiba neighborhood in Gaza on Saturday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

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 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. Photos posted to social media showed large plumes of black smoke rising from western Gaza.

Earlier on Friday, an Israeli soldier was injured by a grenade thrown by a terrorists during unrest on the Gaza border.

Palestinians in Gaza have for months been demonstrating against Israel's decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

The IDF spokesman said the aim of the operation was to "restore a sense of security" and that the military would "respond as necessary" to a wide range of scenarios.

Gaza's health ministry said Saturday that a 20-year-old struck by gunfire Friday during the protests in the southern Gaza Strip had also died of his wounds.

A Palestinian teenager killed in an Israeli air strike.

It was one of the most serious flare-ups of fighting since the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, but Israel's chief military spokesman, Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis, said it was premature to say whether it heralded the start of a broader campaign against militants in the enclave, run by the Islamist movement Hamas.

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