Palestine Tensions: Israel retaliates after Hamas rocket attacks

14 2018 shows Palestinian rockets being fired from Gaza City towards Israel. Israel's military said it had launched air strikes targeting Hamas in the Gaza Strip on July 14 as rockets and mortars were lobbed into southern Israel

Following a day of rockets launched at Israel from Gaza, the IDF attacked Hamas with the heaviest strikes since the 2014 summer war.

The Israeli Air Force has struck dozens of targets in the Strip in retaliation.

Among the main targets was the "Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia, which includes urban warfare training facilities, (a) weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centres, offices and more", the Israeli army said in a statement. The tiny territory has been under Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas, considered a terrorist group by much of the West, wrested power in 2007.

According to IDF spokesman Brig.

A Palestinian man and his son were also killed in an explosion on Sunday in Gaza City, but police said it was not the result of Israeli fire. Israel maintains many of those it killed were Hamas militants and says its security concerns from Hamas necessitate its blockade of Gaza. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

A farm building was lightly damaged in one border community, with no harm to any animals reported.

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The barrage from the Gaza Strip began in the early morning hours of Saturday, sending thousands of Israelis to bomb shelters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not accept a cease-fire unless it included an end to all militant hostilities, including incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza that have devastated nearby Israeli farmlands and nature reserves.

Still, it was unclear whether the truce would hold as warning sirens were heard in southern Israel early Sunday, indicating incoming fire, AP said. Some were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missiles.

One rocket hit a home in the town of Sderot.

"Our message to Hamas is that we can and will enhance the intensity of our effort if needed", he said.

Bennett said that the Israeli military "must be instructed to act with force, sophistication and thoroughness. The IDF has struck Hamas with the hardest blow since Operation Protective Edge and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary".

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Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday that demonstrations would go on until the fulfillment of the Palestinian people's demands, including their right to return to their homeland.

Later, the Israeli military claimed an officer was wounded by a grenade. Most were treated at the scene, while several dozen were taken to hospital.

The Israeli Supreme Court has temporarily suspended the demolition of the Bedouin village, home to at least 180 people, until July 16.

Striking in the heart of Gaza City is typically only seen during full-blown conflicts like the war of 2014 and could mark a sign that violence is escalating. Humanitarian and essential supplies continue to enter Gaza.

There have also been hundreds of fires at Israeli farms caused by kites and balloons carrying firebombs from Gaza, leading to political pressure on the government and military to take action against Hamas.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language Ma'an news agency that the warplanes had attacked a site used for releasing incendiary kites and balloons into occupied territories. Fifteen of them occurred in the Eshkol region, which abuts the southern Gaza Strip.

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