Rocket Sirens Go Off in Southern Israel

Rocket Sirens Go Off in Southern Israel

Home to two million Palestinians, Gaza has suffered deep poverty with vital infrastructure collapsing under a 12-year blockade by Israel, which says its aim is to curb security threats by Hamas.

Media reports said that Egyptian intelligence services had contacted the Hamas leadership in Gaza to try to prevent a further escalation of violence.

Netanyahu said that after consultations with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the IDF chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot it was chose to take "powerful action against Hamas terror".

Rocket sirens were heard across southern Israel Saturday morning, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed.

The cause of the blast, hours after a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the enclave was announced, was not immediately known.

In a day of fierce fighting on Saturday, Israel carried out dozens of air strikes in Gaza, killing two people, and Gaza militants fired more than 100 rockets across the border, wounding three people in a southern Israeli town.

"There are three factors occurring that we view seriously and can not allow to continue", he said, adding that this was the largest daytime Israeli strike on Gaza since the 2014 Gaza War.

Earlier, the military said its jets targeted a Hamas tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip as well as other military compounds.

However, Israeli airstrikes Saturday have injured hundreds of civilians, and killed two Palestinian teens who were at a public park next to a unfinished building, Gaza's Health Ministry reported.

Three Israelis were reportedly injured when one of the rockets landed on a residential home.

"We are talking about the biggest offensive strikes since Protective Edge", Air Force Brigadier General Tzvika Haimovic told journalists, referring to Israel's name for its 2014 operation in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF said that the number of rockets and mortar shells fired towards Israel since mid-afternoon local time had reached more than 200 on Saturday night. Later the military said an Israeli officer was moderately wounded by a grenade thrown at him.

A 20-year-old struck by gunfire Friday during the protests in the southern Gaza Strip had also died of his wounds. the ministry said, while a further 220 Palestinians were wounded in protests along the frontier.

The majority were involved in protests and clashes but others were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.

Over 130, mostly unarmed, Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests began on March 30.

Hellis was killed on Friday at a border protest.

Stating that Hamas' stance over the cease-fire was "clear", Qassem also said that Palestinian groups would take a joint stance after consulting each other. Militants have tried repeatedly to break through the border fence, attacked soldiers, and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in southern Israel with kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs and explosives.

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