Israel Hits Gaza as Militants Fire 200 Rockets Across Border

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his Security Cabinet Tuesday to plot a way forward amid the fighting.

The outbreak of violence came after months of deadly unrest along the Gaza-Israel border had appeared to be calming.

The botched Israeli raid in Gaza the day before left seven Palestinian militants and an Israeli officer dead.

In the immediate aftermath of the clash, Israel said it identified 17 launches - likely rockets or mortars - toward its territory from Gaza, with three intercepted by missile defences.

On Wednesday, the ministry announced the death of three Palestinians, in the Israeli shelling east of Gaza.

In Gaza, the sky lit up with outgoing rocket fire.

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The Russian condemnation came after an Egyptian delegation to Gaza, set up with the goal of creating a ceasefire, placed the blame on Israel for starting the violence.

More than 170 demonstrators, most unarmed, have been killed by Israeli army fire in the confrontations, in which some of the participants threw stones, burned tires or hurled grenades toward Israeli forces.

The building of Al-Aqsa TV station located in an-Nasr district, west of Gaza, was totally destroyed by the Israeli raids, footage of the attack showed.

"Israeli forces must refrain from carrying out indiscriminate attacks and do everything in their power to ensure civilian lives are spared and damage to civilian homes, facilities and infrastructure is prevented".

Earlier Monday evening, three Palestinians were killed and nine injured in the Israeli airstrikes on military facilities all over the Gaza Strip in response to firing rockets from the enclave into southern Israel, according to medical sources.

Israel had stressed its covert operation on Sunday was an intelligence-gathering mission and "not an assassination or abduction", but Hamas strongly denounced it and vowed revenge.

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Later on Tuesday, Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas, said they would halt cross-border attacks immediately if Israel did the same.

An exchange of fire followed in which local Al-Qassam commander Nour Baraka was killed along with another militant, it said.

A pursuit ensued and witnesses said Israeli aircraft fired more than 40 missiles into the area.

Tensions have been running high near the Gaza fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests dubbed "The Great March of Return".

Israeli troops have allegedly killed more than 220 Palestinians during the confrontations, which have included border breaches.

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