Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Israel Launches Attack Against Hamas

Israel Launches Attack Against Hamas

Israeli airstrikes and tank fire kill at least four people across the Gaza Strip.

Israel says it has no interest is engaging in another war with Hamas, but says it will no longer tolerate the Gaza militant campaign of daily flying incendiary kites and balloons across the border that have torched Israeli crops, burned nature reserves and killed wildlife. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests started on March 30.

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

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned of a "much tougher" response to any fresh missile fire by Hamas after the army reported "three launches" from the territory, two of which were intercepted.

It said "Hamas chose to escalate the security situation and will bear the consequences for its actions".

The same day, around 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza and four Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the nearby Israeli city of Sderot.

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Two Palestinians were killed in a strike east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, the health ministry in the enclave said.

A spokesman told AFP it was the first time an Israeli soldier had been killed in or around Gaza during operations since the last war in 2014. Others have been killed by Israeli air strikes or by tank fire.

Protesters are demanding the "right of return" to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel. It later said "fighter jets commenced a wide-scale attack against Hamas military targets throughout the Gaza Strip".

In recent weeks, Palestinians have shifted their focus to sending to burning kites and helium balloons over the Israeli border fence and into the farmland beyond.

In a Washington Post opinion piece on Thursday, top Trump administration officials demanded that Hamas end its reign of terror and the "nightmare" it has visited on Palestinians in Gaza.

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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