Israel Retaliates, Ferociously, After IDF Soldier Killed by Hamas Sniper

Israel Retaliates, Ferociously, After IDF Soldier Killed by Hamas Sniper

Israel claims Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, is orchestrating the protests, and Israel has sharply tightened restrictions on the flow of goods into the coastal enclave.

"With Egyptian and United Nations efforts it has been agreed to return to the era of calm between (Israel) and Palestinian factions", Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Reuters.

Israel's government and army rarely comment on ceasefires in the enclave, but a military spokeswoman said civilian life should return to normal in areas next to Gaza. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed during that period as Israel deployed snipers and sharpshooters against demonstrations, which it says are a cover for violent attacks.

A relative of a Palestinian who was killed by Israeli troops east of the city of Khan Yunis, reacts in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2018.

Israel Defense Forces launched its latest wave of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Friday, leaving four Palestinians dead. At least 120 Gazans were wounded.

An Israeli Cabinet members said Hamas has failed to listen to Israeli warnings against violence at the Gaza border.

"Hamas is forcing us into a situation where we will have no choice but to embark on a large and painful military operation", Lieberman was quoted as saying by Israeli Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Israel Retaliates, Ferociously, After IDF Soldier Killed by Hamas Sniper

Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since the 2014 war.

Israeli war jets are hovering over Gaza, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, but did not give any end date for the offensive. But here has been disagreement over how to do that, with concern in many quarters that aid should not bolster Hamas.

For nearly four months, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been holding nearly daily demonstrations called "The Great March of Return" near the Gaza-Israel border.

Palestinians are demanding the right to return to homes and villages they fled or were driven from during the conflict surrounding the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948.

The Israeli retaliation Friday to the soldier's killing was fierce, but Hamas' response was far meeker with just a few projectiles launched that were intercepted by Israel.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza for over a decade in an attempt to weaken Hamas.

Khalil al-Hayya, a top Hamas leader, said "the protests will remain, flaming and existing, and its tools will multiply and diversify, including kites, until our goals are achieved".

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