Hamas, Israel reach ceasefire after a wave of strikes on Gaza

Hamas, Israel reach ceasefire after a wave of strikes on Gaza

Israeli warplanes targeted an under-construction building in al-Katiba neighborhood in Gaza on Saturday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

In the other direction "more than 60 rockets" were fired at southern Israel from Gaza, the Israeli military said, of which "approximately 10 rockets were intercepted".

Strikes on Saturday morning by Israeli jets have left smoke billowing above the Gaza Strip, and militants allied with Hamas stating it fired rockets across the border in return.

The two Palestinians killed were aged 15 and 16, caught in an Israeli strike on a building they were near in the west of Gaza City, the enclave's health ministry said. A tunnel was dug under the building & used for underground warfare training.

Thousands took part in Friday's protests, which marked 100 days since their launch, with some venturing close to the border fence, burning tires and throwing stones.

Egypt is now engaging in diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire but that possibility remains uncertain.

An Israeli man stands outside a house damaged by Palestinian rocket fire in the southern city of Sderot, July 14, 2018.

The primary target of the IAF strikes Saturday was the Hamas battalion headquarters in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Strip, the army said.

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Hamas's Barhoum said the group was responsible for the barrage against Israel and that it was carried out "in response to the Israeli air strikes".

"Allowing Hamas to dictate the terms of the ceasefire after two months of arson attacks and hundreds of rockets on the residents of Gaza border communities is a serious mistake".

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

"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.

The majority of those killed were involved in protests and clashes but others were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.

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.

Last Friday, one person was killed and 57 were wounded by Israeli military fire in protests at the Gaza-Israel border.

Still, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said the Israeli attacks 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 activity we are engaged in now sends a message that Israel will not tolerate rockets, explosive devices, mortar bombs or (incendiary) kites", Katz said on Israel's Channel 12 TV. Most recently, it has been struggling to cope with the widespread fires caused by the incendiary kites and balloons floating over the border.

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