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Major Gaza Escalation, Militants & IDF Exchange Fire

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The Israel Defense Forces launched a massive attack on the Gaza Strip late Friday evening, following an exchange of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Haaretz reported

At least three of the four Palestinians killed were Hamas fighters, the Islamist militant group confirmed. They were killed when Israel struck eight Hamas targets throughout Gaza in response to gunfire at Israeli troops. according to I24 News

This round  of fighting is the most serious escalation since a shaky truce descended on Israel’s south and Gaza after a major flare up on the weekend saw widespread rocket and mortar attacks on Israel and retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza.

Earlier Friday Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that Hamas’ leadership was heading toward a “painful” war with Israel. The two groups last fought a major war in the summer of 2014.

The Israeli army stated that “at this hour, IDF jet planes started an extensive attack on terror targets related to the Hamas terror organization throughout the Gaza Strip.” The IDF said the attack came in response to “a grave shooting incident against our forces.”

“Hamas will bear responsibility for this incident, as well as the series of terrorist attacks carried out in recent months. The Hamas terror organization has chosen to destabilize the security situation and will bear the consequences of its actions.”, I24 reported the IDF stating shortly after militants opened fire on Israeli soldiers. Haaretz reported that Palestinian snipers  were shooting at troops in southern Gaza.

he UN’s Middle East envoy, Nikolay Mladenov,  went on Twitter  Twitter to send a  message following the escalation, writing: “Everyone in #Gaza needs to step back from the brink. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Right NOW! Those who want to provoke #Palestinians and #Israelis into another war must not succeed.”

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