2 dead, 1 injured in explosion in Gaza hours after ceasefire announced

2 dead, 1 injured in explosion in Gaza hours after ceasefire announced

2 dead, 1 injured in explosion in Gaza hours after ceasefire announced

Fourteen others were wounded.

At least one ceasefire was brokered during the fighting, reportedly by Egypt, but was quickly violated by the Palestinians.

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Jonathan Conricus said the objective of Saturday's operation was to stop arson attacks, attempted border breaches, and assaults on soldiers from Gaza that have grown increasingly violent.

Israel says it has struck dozens of Hamas military targets in northern Gaza in retaliation for assaults including more than 90 rocket attacks.

The Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza have exchanged mortar and rocket fire intermittently since May amid weekly Palestinians demonstrations at the border fence that have often been violent.

Many rockets and mortars are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system, but they set off air-raid sirens and force Israelis to hunker down in shelters. Only hours afterwards, however, the regime resumed its attacks again alleging that it had come under renewed rocket strikes.

"In the wake of events overnight we have attacked 40 terrorist targets, including the destruction of the headquarters of the Beit Lahia Battalion", said Chief IDF Spokesman Brig.Gen Ronen Manelis. "The IDF has struck Hamas with the hardest blow since Operation Protective Edge and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary".

Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said the latest air strikes should not be seen as the start of a military campaign against the Palestinian territory.

"The protection and the defence of our people is a national duty and a strategic choice", Barhoum said.

Palestinian teenager killed in Gaza border protests

The Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza has led border protests aimed in part at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

Protesters are calling for a lifting of the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave and a return to lands in present-day Israel that Palestinian refugees had fled. The Israelis retaliated with live fire, killing a Palestinian teen and injuring 220 others throughout the day, Wafa reported.

Thousands took part in Friday's protests, which marked 100 days since their launch, with some venturing close to the border fence, burning tires and throwing stones.

No Israelis have been killed.

Hamas called the move a "crime against humanity", with Gaza already suffering from deep poverty and worsening humanitarian conditions.

The border protests peaked on May 14, when the United States moved its Israel embassy to the disputed city of Jerusalem, but have continued at a lower level since then.

Over 130, mostly unarmed, Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests began on March 30.

It said it fired toward a Palestinian who was attempting to infiltrate Israeli territory, but the incident appeared to be unrelated to the death of the teenager.

"Our message to Hamas is that we can and will enhance the intensity of our effort if needed", he said.

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