New Israeli strike in Gaza City wounds 18: ministry

A fireball explodes during Israeli air strikes on Gaza City

The Israeli military said seven people were wounded by Palestinian rockets and mortars that hit southern Israel.

He said the agreement merely ended the latest two-day bout of violence between Israel and Hamas, adding that Egypt would continue efforts to broker a long-term truce.

Prior Thursday night's meeting, "the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense instructed the IDF to prepare for every possibility", an official said.

It did not elaborate.

Israel did not formally comment on the issue, but an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied a cease-fire had been reached. "We are closing in on operation in Gaza", a senior IDF official told Haaretz on Thursday.

Israeli media reported that army officials later acknowledged a mistake had been made and the militants had not been firing at soldiers, though the military would not confirm that information to AFP.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the security cabinet on Thursday evening to discuss the violence in the south, as IDF jets flattened a five-story building in the Gaza Strip it said served as a headquarters for Hamas's internal security service.

Emergency sirens sounded in the Israeli city of Beersheba, some 25 miles from Gaza Thursday afternoon, after several hours of calm.

Smoke billows during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, Aug. 9, 2018.

A Hamas militant was also killed in the strikes and at least 12 others injured, the Health Ministry said. "The UN has engaged with Egypt and all concerned parties in an unprecedented effort to avoid such a development", he said.

"The deliberate targeting of a cultural center with airstrikes and destruction.is a barbaric act", said Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman.

"Hamas must go back to the understandings after the [2014 Gaza war], and if it doesn't, it will understand the hard way", Haaretz quoted the officer as saying. The Israeli military said its aircraft struck more than 150 facilities belonging to Hamas.

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"You can see that when the rockets are raining down, our young people march toward martyrdom", Nofal said.

Gaza's Health Ministry identified those killed in the airstrikes as 23-year-old Enas Khamash and her daughter Bayan, as well as a Hamas fighter, Ali Ghandour. The ministry said the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents. The mother and daughter died immediately and the father is in critical condition, Kamal told the AP.

The rocket that hit an open area outside the major Israeli city of Beersheba caused no damage or injuries. The military said that the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted at least 30 rockets and the majority landed in open areas.

At the United Nations, Israel's ambassador, Danny Danon, urged the secretary-general and U.N. Security Council to condemn Hamas militants for what he called "the unprovoked terrorist attack" on southern Israel.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East conflict who has been seeking to negotiate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, said he was "deeply alarmed". The protests have been aimed in part at trying to break the blockade. The military said more than 180 rockets and mortar bombs were fired from Gaza.

On Tuesday, Israeli tank fire had killed two members of Hamas' military wing.

The incident occurred while a group of senior Hamas leaders from overseas were visiting Gaza to discuss the ceases-fire efforts with local leaders.

According to Israeli press reports, a total of nine Israelis have recently been injured by rockets fired from Gaza.

Israeli warplanes struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there, while Palestinian militants from the territory fired scores of rockets into Israel in a fierce burst of violence overnight and into Thursday morning.

The BBC changed its "Israeli airstrikes kill a woman and a baby" headline to fit the occupation agenda after complaints by the Israeli Spokesperson of Foreign Affairs Emmanuel Nahshon.

Israel says it has been defending its sovereign border against infiltration attempts by Hamas.

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