Israel, Hamas agree to restore calm in Gaza - Hamas

World       by Usman Arshad | Published

The stepped up campaign followed "an event of the sort we can not tolerate", said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, referring to the soldier's death.

Earlier the Israeli military said its aircraft and tanks targeted 40 Hamas posts and that the strikes formed part of a "wide-scale attack" in response to the border shooting.

Friday's airstrikes came as Palestinians continued their Great March of Return protests along the border.

The Hebrew-language official Israeli TV reported that "it would be different if Hamas responds with shells or rockets". Gaza's ministry of health said that other people were injured.

Israel has launched an intense wave of strikes across the Gaza Strip after one of its soldiers was killed in gunfire along the border, raising fears of renewed conflict.

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"The event that happened today is something that we can not tolerate and can not allow to become a routine norm, that's why we retaliated and that's why we continue to target military targets belonging to Hamas", Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it accepted the ceasefire brokered by Egyptian and United Nations officials and that calm had been restored.

The airstrikes began to slam Gaza just hours after Israeli soldiers gunned down at least three Palestinians during anti-occupation demonstrations. Israel's government and army rarely acknowledge ceasefires with Hamas, but a military spokesperson said civilian life should return to normal in areas next to Gaza.

Protesters gather while burning tires near the fence along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel east of Khan Younis on Friday.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Gadi Eizenkot and Mr. Lieberman at the military's headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss the escalating tensions in Gaza.

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In response to Israel's "massive" wave of airstrikes, activists began circulating the #StoptheWar hashtag in an effort to pressure the global community to step in and stop Israel's efforts to launch yet another catastrophic assault on the "occupied, blockaded, unlivable, and exhausted Gaza Strip".

They also demand an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities. The weekly protests since March call for the return of refugees to their homes and lands from which they were displaced in 1948. Israel has carried out such strikes on Gazans launching incendiary kites and balloons at southern Israel.

The second such ceasefire in a week after fierce exchanges seemed to once more pull the sides back from the brink of a full-fledged war.

Lieberman has raised the threat of a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip if Hamas does not stop the kites and balloons being launched.

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