Gaza officials say six Palestinians killed in Israeli raid

Leroy Wright
November 12, 2018

An exchange of fire erupted during an Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing six Palestinians and an Israeli soldier, officials said, while potentially dashing hopes that a recent agreement would restore calm.

The rising tensions cut short Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Paris, where he had been attending World War I commemorations, to return home. Hardline Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had opposed "transferring the money to Hamas".

The Israeli military said in a brief statement that: "During IDF (Israel Defense Forces) operational activity in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of fire evolved".

One Israeli soldier has been killed along the Gaza border in that time.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and 22,000 injured by Israeli forces during the Gaza protests in the past seven months, according to the enclave's health ministry. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage on the Israeli side of the frontier.

Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing, said in a brief statement that Israeli special units infiltrated Sunday evening by a vehicle into Ismail Abu Shanab Mosque area three kilometers in depth of east of Khan Yunis and assassinated Nour Baraka one of Qassam leader.

Hamas militants then pursued the auto as it raced back to Israel, prompting Israeli air strikes that killed "a number of people".

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A firefight ensued between the Israeli troops and Hamas fighters, with Israeli drones carrying out dozens of airstrikes in the area.

"Without exception, every step has a price", the Israeli prime minister remarked before stressing: "When you take steps of leadership, if you can not bear the price, you cannot lead".

Several volleys of rockets were apparently shot at Israel amid the fighting, with at least two being intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Residents of Gaza border communities received directions to remain near shelter. All IDF soldiers back in Israel.

In the West Bank, Abbas angrily accused Israel and the USA of ganging up behind his back to entrench Hamas's control over Gaza.

The statements comes after an intense night of clashes between the IDF and Hamas that saw six Hamas members killed and rounds of rocket fire launched from Gaza at Israel. One of the dead was a local commander for Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a local hospital reported.

Israel last week allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million to civil servants working under Hamas, while Hamas scaled back weekly demonstrations along the Israeli border. He also accused Hamas of undermining his goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state that includes all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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