Israeli raid shakes fragile truce in Gaza

Israeli raid shakes fragile truce in Gaza

A Hamas spokesman denounced a "cowardly Israeli attack".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris for a lunch after participating in a World War I Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018. The military said its defenses intercepted two of the launches.

Israeli gunfire has killed more than 220 Palestinians since the start of the demonstrations, which have included breaches of Israel's border fence.

The BBC's Tom Bateman in Jerusalem says that according to a former Israeli general, the incident was likely to have been an intelligence gathering operation that went wrong.

"By retaliating, they are legitimizing themselves as targets for further Israeli air strikes, and by doing nothing risking the ire of Gazans who feel that Israeli forces are now being allowed to conduct targeted assassinations at will in the coastal enclave", he explained.

The IDF said though that the operation was "not meant to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security". There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage on the Israeli side of the frontier.

Israel's military had not confirmed those details nor described what type of operation it carried out.

Details were still emerging of the incident that Palestinian officials said occurred east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The incoming fire comes a day after an Israeli undercover military raid in Gaza sparked fighting that left seven Palestinian militants and an Israeli officer dead.

Nour Baraka, a local Hamas leader, was "assassinated", the statement said.

Israeli minister Avigdor Lieberman was holding consultations at Israel's military headquarters to discuss the situation, his office said in a statement.

The military wing of Hamas foiled an Israeli operation of "utmost importance" for Israeli security in Gaza last night, the movement said on Monday.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said a member of the special unit involved was killed and another was lightly wounded.

The cross-border fighting came just days after Israel and Hamas reached indirect deals, backed by Qatar and Egypt, to allow cash and fuel into Gaza.

Netanyahu had on Saturday evening defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer the cash to Gaza, despite criticism from within his own government, saying he wanted to avoid a war if it wasn't necessary.

Naftali Bennet, Netanyahu's education minister and right-wing rival, compared the cash flow to "protection money" paid to criminals.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008 and recent unrest has raised fears of a fourth.

Major protests along the Gaza-Israel border began on March 30.

A mortar fired from the besieged Gaza Strip hit an Israeli bus in an Israeli community surrounding Gaza, on Monday, critically injuring one Israeli.

Lieutenant Colonel the most senior soldier killed in a clash in the Gaza Strip since Operation Tzuk Eitan in the summer of 2014.

In recent weeks, Egyptian and United Nations mediators had appeared to make progress in brokering informal understandings aimed at quieting the situation.

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