Israeli soldier killed by Palestinian fire near Gaza

Palestinian relatives react as they arrive at the morgue of the al Shifa hospital in Gaza City where the body of Mohammed Badwan was brought after he was shot dead by Israeli forces during protests along the border east of Gaza City

Palestinian relatives react as they arrive at the morgue of the al Shifa hospital in Gaza City where the body of Mohammed Badwan was brought after he was shot dead by Israeli forces during protests along the border east of Gaza City

On Friday, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier along the Gaza border and the Israeli military launched dozens of strikes into the Strip that killed four Palestinians, including three Hamas fighters.

"With Egyptian and United Nations efforts it has been agreed to return to the era of calm between [Israel] and Palestinian factions", Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

Israeli warplanes pounded the Gaza Strip on Friday after a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier along the border fence.

Earlier on Friday, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier died in violent clashes at the border with Gaza, the first to die on active duty on the Gaza front since 2014.

"The attack delivered a severe blow to the Hamas's training array, command and control abilities, weaponry, aerial defense and logistic capabilities along with additional military infrastructure", the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the strikes "will intensify as necessary".

Israel has yet to confirm the agreement, but the army said in a statement on Saturday that communities near Gaza could return to normal activity, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. A fourth Palestinian was shot dead in protests near the border.

Relatives of killed Hamas member Mohamed Abu Daqa react and mourn during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip
Relatives of killed Hamas member Mohamed Abu Daqa react and mourn during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip

A relative of a Palestinian who was killed by Israeli troops east of the city of Khan Yunis, reacts in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2018.

A Ma'an reporter said that Israeli forces also opened fire at the fishermen forcing them to head back to shore. Fires caused by kites and helium-filled balloons have ravaged farmland in Israel in recent months.

After dark on Friday, the Israeli military said that Gaza militants had launched three rockets into Israel, of which two were intercepted by its Iron Dome defence system. Gaza health officials say more than 130 Palestinians have been killed and 15,000 injured by Israeli forces during that time. On friday, three Hamas militants were killed as air raids sent fireballs exploding into the sky over Gaza, while Israel said rockets had been fired back at its territory.

"Hamas leaders are forcibly leading us into a situation where we will have no choice, a situation in which we will have to embark on a painful, wide-scale military operation", he said during a visit to the city of Sderot.

It's all up to Hamas", begins, "At the end of a productive six-day trip to the region recently, one reality was painfully clear: "The nightmare of Hamas's leadership is continuing and needlessly prolonging the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza".

A third man was killed by Israeli fire east of Rafah, also in southern Gaza, the ministry said. 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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