Israel nearing full-scale military campaign with Gaza

Israel nearing full-scale military campaign with Gaza

Katz, meanwhile, proposed "shifting the full responsibility over the Gaza Strip to the global community, while keeping Israel's security control on the port".

The Palestinian news agency WAFA, citing health sources, reported at least 12 Palestinians were wounded.

"The Israeli government and the USA administration are responsible for the escalations in the Gaza Strip and for the continuation of the 11-year-long blockade [of Gaza]", government spokesman Yousuf al-Mahmoud said in the statement.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the violence broke out after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza on Wednesday.

"This is a blatant crime and Israel is responsible for it", he said. Israel deployed its Iron Dome system and intercepted 11 launches, though several civilians were injured by shrapnel.

"I am deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today's multiple rockets fired toward communities in southern Israel", said U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov in an overnight statement. The Israeli military says they are hitting "strategic targets", but this mostly means factories that they claim are manufacturing tunnels or the like.

The Israeli army said on Thursday morning that it had pounded more than 140 targets in Gaza belonging to the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement.

Hamas said a 23-year-old pregnant woman and her young daughter died in another attack; while the husband suffered moderate injuries.

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After a few hours of relative quiet, Israeli forces targeted western Gaza City on Thursday evening, the Gaza health ministry reported, adding that at least seven Palestinians were injured. That was followed by the rocket fire and then the Israeli strikes.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) released the first images of the coastal defense barrier that it is constructing in the sea on the country's maritime border with the Gaza Strip on 5 August.

Air raid sirens signalling incoming rocket fire continued in southern Israel on Thursday morning, raising the likelihood of further Israeli reprisals. Several injuries were reported in several parts across the Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of the security cabinet due to the growing tensions in the Gaza Strip which was attended by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and senior commanders.

Israel has played down prospects for a comprehensive ceasefire, speaking in terms of a more limited quid-pro-quo. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this period.

The rocket fire came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.

The last four months have seen an upsurge in violence along the Gaza-Israel border. The border had been closed in response to damage caused by incendiary balloons launched into Israeli territory.

Meanwhile, Palestinian media is reporting negotiations between Hamas and Egyptian official in Cairo are in the "advanced" stages, and Egypt is working to restore calm.

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