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Israel, Hamas Reach Ceasefire Deal Following Rocket Fire, Airstrikes

15 July 2018

In response, the Israeli military conducted an airstrike against a group of Palestinians it said was launching incendiary balloons toward Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, east of the city of Rafah. The building was a Hamas training facility.

Other command centers and offices, training compounds, weapons storage warehouses and urban warfare training sites were struck as well.

The weekend violence saw four Israelis lightly to moderately wounded when a rocket hit a home in Sderot. Twenty-five people were wounded across Gaza, the ministry said.

The attacks come amid an escalation of violence in the region in recent months.

A bomb drops from an Israeli fighter over Gaza City, Gaza. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not respond to a request for comment.

Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian teenager on Friday, who had been taking part in border protests, Gaza medical officials said.

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The IDF has sought to avoid an escalation of hostilities on the southern front despite the attacks, but according to the Haaretz daily, the political pressure to act has been building as the economic and psychological harm caused by the fires takes its toll.

Even as the airstrikes were being carried out, the military said rockets began being fired toward Israel.

"The Hamas terror organization is responsible for the events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and Israeli sovereignty", the army said, adding that "the IDF views Hamas' terror activity with great severity and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios".

Israeli media are reporting that the military has renewed its bombardment of militant sites in the Gaza Strip as Palestinian militants launch rockets toward Israel. Hamas said a truce had been agreed, but there have been reports of further exchanges.

"The protection and the defence of our people is a national duty and a strategic choice", Barhoum said.

Israel says Hamas has been orchestrating the weekly protests to distract from governance problems and provide cover for militants' cross-border attacks.

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It said it fired toward a Palestinian who was attempting to infiltrate Israeli territory, but the incident appeared to be unrelated to the death of the teenager.

No Israelis have been killed. Shortly after, more than a dozen rockets were fired toward Israel.

A man uses a plastic bag to protect himself from tear gas as Palestinians and Israeli troops clash.

Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations. Palestinians and rights groups say unarmed protesters are being shot while posing no real threat.

Air strikes also targeted the Hamas Beit Lahiya Battalion headquarters.

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".

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"We are talking about the biggest offensive strikes since Protective Edge", Brigadier General Tzvika Haimovic told journalists, referring to Israel's name for its 2014 operation in the Gaza Strip.

Israel, Hamas Reach Ceasefire Deal Following Rocket Fire, Airstrikes