Hamas, Israel exchange intense fire

Hamas said it fired in defence in response to Israeli air strikes.

The military had shut down a popular beach and placed limitations on large gatherings as residents kept mostly close to home on Saturday amid dozens of rockets that were fired from Gaza.

Saturday's exchange of missiles and rockets is considered as the biggest since the 2014 Israeli war on the impoverished sliver. The military said it identified about 60 launches of rockets and mortars from Gaza toward Israeli territory, of which about 10 were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the latest Israeli sortie, the third of the day, struck some 40 Hamas targets including tunnels, logistical centers and a Hamas battalion headquarters.

Announcing their deaths in the strike on a Hamas facility on Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry said they were walking on a road nearby when they were hit with shrapnel from the huge blast. Israeli military officials say the weekend attacks on Gaza were retaliation for that casualty, and that it was "sufficient reason to go on the offensive".

At least two Palestinians sustained injuries when Israeli fighter jets launched an airstrike against a residential area in the northern part of the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

Adnan Abu Amer, a political analyst from Gaza, wrote on his Facebook page "tug-of-war still exists between the Palestinian resistance and Israel until it reaches the cutting point or someone comes along and stops this unsafe game".

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The army said that underground tunnels, weapon caches, training camps and training equipments were destroyed in the intensive airstrikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad facilities all over the Gaza Strip.

Israel says it has only opened fire in self-defence or on people trying to infiltrate its territory under the cover of the demonstrations.

A pair of Palestinian teenagers who were on a rooftop when they were targeted by an Israeli air raid were reported killed.

Earlier Saturday, Gaza Health Ministry said that 18-year-old Mohamed Shurab from the southern Gaza Strip city of Kahn Younis died of wounds early on Saturday morning.

Since March, more than 130 people have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire during Palestinian protests against the decades-long Israeli occupation and 11-year blockade, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of basic commodities.

Tension between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has been flaring up over the past few weeks, where the Egyptian security intelligence, which always mediates a ceasefire between the two sides, repeatedly intervened to stop more escalation.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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