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Tense calm, cease-fire follows another Hamas-Israel flare-up

Tense calm, cease-fire follows another Hamas-Israel flare-up”

The strike hit a building that Palestinians say housed a cultural centre and other offices in the middle of the city, an AFP correspondent said.

Following a well-worn pattern, The New York Times is again downplaying Palestinian belligerence, this time obscuring the fact that intensive Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israel prompted a wave of Israeli airstrikes on Hamas site in the Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours.

Israelis stand and inspect surrounding damages outside the cordoned area where a rocket fired by militants from the Gaza Strip fell and created a small crater in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on 9 August 2018.

Abu Mujahed, spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committee, a smaller faction in Gaza, said on his Facebook page: "Upon Egyptian and global efforts, a ceasefire between Palestinian resistance began conditional on the commitment of the occupation".

In Gaza, which has endured years of Israeli and Egyptian sanctions aimed at isolating Islamist Hamas which rules the territory, tensions raised by weekly border protest since March 30 have increased the problem.

Israeli airstrikes have killed at least three people, including a pregnant mother and her 18-month-old child, after the Israeli military and Hamas traded fire overnight and into Thursday afternoon, the Gaza Health Ministry reported. At least three Palestinians died - a pregnant woman, her 1-year-old daughter and a Hamas militant. Hamas has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, stressing that they were in retaliation for the killing of two of Palestinians by Israeli forces.

Israel and Palestinian resistance group Hamas that governs the Gaza Strip, agreed on a truce on Thursday to end a flare-up in cross-border fighting, two Palestinian officials said.

"We are closer to an arrangement than we have been in the past because Hamas's interest in a deal is greater than its wish for escalation", he said.

"This is a blatant crime and Israel is responsible for it", he added.

As Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, put it, the "current Israeli bombardment sequence in Gaza started when the Israeli military killed two Palestinians, lied about why, and later admitted to doing so just as a high level Palestinian delegation was on its way to Cairo to discuss longer term cease-fire".

Some 4,500 Palestinians demonstrators gathered at five different locations along the Gaza border on Friday, Israel's Defense Forces (IDF) said, marking 20th consecutive Friday's of protests. Tens of thousands of Israelis spent several nights in bomb shelters, the IDF retaliated against over 150 terrorist targets, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his generals contemplated full-scale war.

The West Bank only gets around three-quarters of the power its 3 million people need, imported mostly from Israel and, to a far lesser extent, Jordan. The military said it intercepted some 25 rockets, while most of the others landed in open areas.

The sun may be free, but the technology is not, and Palestinians say their ability to import solar panels has been hampered by Israeli border controls.

Al-Arouri's presence in Gaza could be the reason Hamas suddenly escalated the hostilities against Israel.

Smoke billows during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.

Protests and clashes along the Gaza border began on March 30.

The third slain Palestinian, reportedly a Hamas fighter, was killed in an airstrike in northern Gaza.

The Gaza Strip, home to almost two million Palestinians, has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.



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