Gaza rocket strikes Israeli residential building, killing 1

Arturo Kim
November 15, 2018

Seven Palestinian militants, including a Hamas commander, were killed yesterday as a group of Israeli special forces carried out an operation inside Gaza.

Both Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, have threatened to escalate their actions.

"Tonight, the IDF made sure that this station won't broadcast again", the army said.

The Al-Aqsa channel, which belongs to Hamas, is struck by a direct hit from an Israel air strike.

The Israeli military said that immediately after the clashes, 17 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, three of which were shot down.

He added that the missiles' ability to overwhelm Israel's missile defences and hit houses will be "a awful blow" to Israel, amid "the most serious escalation in fighting between Israel and Hamas since 2014 and in terms of the number of Israelis injured by missiles".

Israeli airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza in an escalation not seen here since 2014.

A 40-year-old Palestinian man was killed in Ashkelon on Monday night, and eight others were wounded in the strike - one of several to breach Israeli defences.

Palestinians in Gaza faced widespread destruction after the Israeli military targeted 160 sites.

Egypt has been mediating peace talks that have aimed to prevent violence at the Israel-Gaza border, where at least 170 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured by Israel forces in protests.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris because of the flare-up, and he returned to Israel on Monday for consultations with security officials.

Israeli TV showed video of multiple rocket launches from the coastal enclave, which has been controlled by the militant group Hamas for more than a decade.

Israel had stressed the operation was an intelligence-gathering mission and "not meant to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security". No injuries were reported.

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Hamas has also carried out a surprise guided-missile attack on Monday on a bus that wounded an Israeli soldier, the military said.

The fierce clashes came after a botched undercover Israeli raid that left one Hamas commander, six fellow fighters and an Israeli officer dead, after the group's fighters discovered Israeli special forces in a civilian vehicle near the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis.

Al-Qassam agents stopped it and wanted to search it, realised it was an Israeli operation and confronted them, it said in a statement.

In all, 200 rockets were fired into Israel by mid-evening, the army said.

The IDF said though that the operation was "not meant to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security".

Smoke rises after Israeli air strike in Gaza City.

A Hamas leader, Ismael Radwan, said the Israeli operation "let the mediators know that the real murder is the Israeli occupation who keep attacking our people".

Israel's military had not confirmed those details.

"The special operation yesterday was not meant to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security", a spokesperson said, adding that the battle was "very complex". Palestinians say at least seven people were killed.

An exchange of fire between the troops and Palestinian fighters ensued, turning deadly and leading to the Israeli unit's call for backup from the air. "It was very unpleasant".

The salvoes were the fiercest since the 2014 Gaza war between Israel and Gaza.

Israel responded with dozens of air strikes against Gaza, hitting buildings overnight. Four government ministers were reported to be opposed to a cease-fire, the Israeli media reported, naming them as Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party; Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party; Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads Jewish Home; and Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin of the Likud party.

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