Israel and Hamas Clash Again, Threatening Peace Talks

Swedish activists sent home after being arrested by Israel

Iron dome intercepted 28 rockets and most of the others fell on open ground but there was a direct hit on a house in the Hof Ashkelon region and injuries in Sderot and the Eshkol region. The military said it could only confirm that a rocket had been launched at the city.

The extensive attacks carried out by the IDF since Wednesday evening destroyed some 150 strategic and military sites, serving "a serious blow to the terrorist organization", the statement continued.

In response to the rocket fire, the Israeli Air Force bombed 12 Hamas targets in Gaza.

The IDF stated that it struck a military compound belonging to the Eastern Rafah Battalion, a shaft belonging to an attack tunnel in Jabalya as well as another two combat tunnels near the coast in the central Gaza Strip. "If it becomes necessary, the residents of the Gaza border communities will be evacuated", he said.

Gaza has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which time it has fought three wars against Israel, the latest in 2014.

They also demand an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

"The current round in Gaza has ended".

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The exchange came amid continued attempts by Egypt to broker a broad cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas. On Wednesday afternoon, the military warned that it was anticipating a revenge attack by Hamas.

Israeli television broadcast images of damage to homes and cars in the town of Sderot.

In Gaza, one Hamas militant was killed in the air strikes, as was a Palestinian woman and her 18 month old child, Palestinian officials said.

Gaza's Health Ministry said three Palestinians were slightly injured in the strikes.

Palestinian sources said it was a drone attack, while the Israeli statement said it was tank fire.

The military released footage that it said was of the incident.

"Our collective efforts have prevented the situation from exploding until now".

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However, senior Israeli officials indicated that the country was prepared for a wider confrontation with Hamas. "We are closing in on operation in Gaza", he said.

"Let's hope for peace, and let's be ready for war", he added.

TRT World's Mohammad Mansour reports from Gaza. An Israeli military spokesman said Hamas operatives had shot in the general direction of Israel's border.

Netanyahu was due to hold a security cabinet meeting later in the day after consultations with security officials. During past wars rockets have reached as far as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheba.

A large number of additional forces were also deployed to the Gaza area. By early Thursday morning, IDF said it struck more than 100 targets.

The official, at a command center used by armed groups in Gaza, said they had been "responding to crimes" by Israel - a reference to the killing on Tuesday, in disputed circumstances, of two Hamas gunmen.

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