Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Israel, Hamas Reach Ceasefire Deal Following Rocket Fire, Airstrikes

Israel, Hamas Reach Ceasefire Deal Following Rocket Fire, Airstrikes

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Reuters: "Efforts by many parties have continued since the beginning of the escalation and the Israeli bombardment on Gaza".

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a harsh warning to Hamas earlier on Saturday before the ceasefire was announced after meeting with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the IDF chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

Three people were wounded in Israel when a rocket struck the southern town of Sderot, police said.

Israel's Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said the air strikes were meant to put an end to such attacks but should not be seen as the start of a military campaign against the Palestinian territory of 2 million, devastated by seven weeks of war with Israel four years ago.

"The IDF hit Hamas with the harshest blow since Operation Protective Edge and we will intensify our reaction as much as necessary", Netanyahu said Saturday evening, after the IDF attacked dozens of targets in the Strip on Saturday, amid relentless rocket fire from Gaza, in the most extensive daytime assault since the 2014 conflict.

However, Israeli airstrikes Saturday have injured hundreds of civilians, and killed two Palestinian teens who were at a public park next to a unfinished building, Gaza's Health Ministry reported.

Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in an airstrike in Gaza City, while three Israelis were wounded from a rocket that landed on a residential home.

Hamas said it fired rockets to discourage Israel from taking further action.

According to Israel Radio, residents reported hearing sounds of explosions and possible interceptions by Israel's Iron Dome system.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Strip said that a 15-year-old Palestinian was shot dead in Friday's protests on the Gaza border and a 20-year-old died Saturday of gunshot wounds.

In statements posted on Twitter, it said it struck two Hamas tunnels, one in southern Gaza and one in the north, as well as other infrastructure across the besieged coastal territory.

"The focus of the attack is a wide-scale strike of the Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia, which includes urban warfare training facilities, weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centers, offices and more", the IDF said in a statement.

During the day's fighting, Gaza militants fired more than 90 mortar bombs and rockets toward Israel, the military said, setting off sirens and sending Israelis fleeing to shelters.

At least 140 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests and clashes broke out along the border on March 30.

Hellis was killed on Friday at a border protest.

Around 10 other passers-by were wounded, the officials said. Militants have tried repeatedly to break through the border fence, attacked soldiers, and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in southern Israel with kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs and explosives.

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