Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Hamas accepts cease-fire after massive Israeli Gaza strikes

Hamas accepts cease-fire after massive Israeli Gaza strikes

"With Egyptian and United Nations efforts, [an agreement] was reached to return to the previous situation of ceasefire between the occupation and Palestinian factions", tweeted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Palestine's Health Ministry reported earlier that four Palestinians were killed Friday by Israeli forces in two separate incidents near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone. An Israeli soldier was also shot dead by Palestinian gunfire from Gaza.

"The attack delivered a severe blow to the Hamas's training array, command and control abilities, weaponry, aerial defense and logistic capabilities along with additional military infrastructure", the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the strikes "will intensify as necessary".

Israel's government initially saw the airborne tools of arson as a novel irritant and a less risky alternative to the rockets often fired by Hamas and other Islamist factions in Gaza.

Tensions increased across all districts of the Gaza Strip in fear of possible airstrikes by Israel.

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"The event that happened today is something that we can not tolerate and can not allow to become a routine norm, that's why we retaliated and that's why we continue to target military targets belonging to Hamas", Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. It did not specify the condition of the soldiers. Israel says it has only opened fire in self-defence, or on people trying to infiltrate its territory under the cover of the demonstrations.

On the Israeli side of the border, the authorities instructed residents to remain close to bomb shelters as they braced for retaliatory rocket fire from Gaza.

Earlier Friday, Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Sderot, an Israeli town near Gaza that has been hard hit by Palestinian rockets over the years.

More than 140 Palestinians have been killed, including one this Friday, and thousands injured in violent clashes with Israel's military during the weekly demonstrations.

According to the Israeli media, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at army headquarters in Tel Aviv to review the situation in Gaza.

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The Israeli army said they struck 60 Hamas sites including weapon manufacturing sites, a drone warehouse and a military operations room.

On Friday, Hamas vowed to continue its protests and the launching of incendiary devices towards Israel.

Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas's deputy chief in Gaza, said the kites would continue to fly.

The protests are largely prompted by the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, which was imposed after the militant group assumed control of Gaza in 2007. The blockade has caused widespread economic hardship.

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