Gaza, Israel exchange massive deadly attacks amid high tensions

An Israeli soldier stands next to an armoured vehicle in kibbutz Nahal Oz

Israel had largely abandoned its tactic of targeting senior Hamas officials in recent years.

The Israels political-security cabinet will convene tomorrow at 16:00 at the Tel Aviv headquarters.

Israel's hardline defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, issued a statement saying he did not support stopping the strikes.

"The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy respects it".

"We are aware of reports of ongoing rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against targets in Israel", a State Department official told JNS on Monday. An Israeli was killed in the rocket attack.

Three Palestinian gunmen and an Israel civilian were killed in the clashes which threatened to derail efforts by the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar to broker a long-term truce and head off another major conflict in Gaza. The man was later identified as a man from Hebron, the West Bank's largest Palestinian city.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza since the Hamas takeover. The operation was launched despite a temporary ceasefire reached between the two sides last week. "Rockets must STOP, restraint must be shown by all!" he wrote on Twitter. He was meeting with his military chief and defense minister late Monday. Eleven Gaza militants, an Israeli soldier, and a Palestinian in Israel have been killed since the violence was triggered Sunday night by a bungled Israeli intelligence operation inside Gaza.

Sirens rang out in the Israeli port of Ashkelon overnight and in other southern towns into Tuesday morning, sending residents rushing to bomb shelters.

Israel's military said it had rushed extra infantry troops and air defences to the boundary with Gaza as at least 200 projectiles were launched towards Israeli territory in less than three hours.

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It was the first confirmed death caused by the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza since Monday afternoon in a flare-up following a deadly Israeli special forces operation in the enclave.

The army also said it had struck the broadcasting station for Hamas' Al-Aqsa channel, which is used for transmitting information to Hamas fighters and allegedly to coordinate terrorist activities.

The military said warplanes, helicopters and tanks had struck over 70 militant targets, including military compounds, observation posts and weapons facilities.

In Gaza, Israeli missiles flattened four multi-floor buildings, including the TV station, and three other homes.

An Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed on Gaza after the Hamas takeover 11 years ago has devastated the local economy while failing to prevent militant groups from developing and expanding their arsenals.

The latest fighting comes as Netanyahu defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer $15 million in aid to Gaza as part of his effort to bring calm to the Hamas-controlled region.

A wounded protester is evacuated during clashes near the border between Israeli-occupied territories and Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 9, 2018.

The Palestinians believe it was an assassination operation - a claim denied by the Israelis.

The unexpected spasm of violence came days after both Israel and Hamas had begun taking steps to ratchet down months of border fighting, that has seen thousands of protesters descend on the perimeter fence between Gaza and Israel, with many throwing stones, burning tires and hurling grenades at Israeli troops.

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