Israeli army launches large-scale attack on Gaza

Hamas,Israeli Gaza strikes,cease-fire

Israel says it has no interest is engaging in another war with Hamas, but says it will no longer tolerate the Gaza militant campaign of flying the incendiary devices into Israel.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum tweeted overnight: "With Egyptian and United Nations efforts, [an agreement] was reached to return to the previous situation of ceasefire between the occupation and Palestinian factions".

Israel's government and army rarely comment on ceasefires in the enclave, but a military spokeswoman said civilian life should return to normal in areas next to Gaza. Around 140 Palestinians, mainly unarmed demonstrators, have been killed since late March.

The incident was the first breach of the ceasefire announced by Hamas at midnight, following widespread Israeli airstrikes Friday after a soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. At least 120 Gazans were wounded.

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"The event that happened today is something that we can not tolerate and can not allow to become a routine norm, that's why we retaliated and that's why we continue to target military targets belonging to Hamas", Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.

"There has been no calm in Gaza for many, many decades", she said. But here has been disagreement over how to do that, with concern in many quarters that aid should not bolster Hamas.

The operation came during another Friday of protests by Palestinians at the border between Israel and Gaza.

It said "fighter jets commenced a wide-scale attack against Hamas military targets throughout the Gaza Strip".

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Explosions were seen across the coastal enclave on Friday evening and Israel said three rockets had been fired at its territory, two of which were intercepted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, arrived at military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Friday night for emergency meetings with top officials, a highly unusual event for the start of Sabbath. Efforts to broker a cease-fire have stumbled over the Palestinians' continuing practice of launching fire-carrying kites and balloons from Gaza into Israel.

Protesters are demanding the "right of return" to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were forced out in 1948 to make way for the formation of the state of Israel.

Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas's deputy chief in Gaza, said the kites would continue to fly. He said they would be returned only as part of a deal similar to that in 2011 under which captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinians jailed in Israel.

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