Israel, Hamas agree to ceasefire deal

Hannah Rogers
July 21, 2018

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. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed during that period as Israel deployed snipers and sharpshooters against demonstrations, which it says are a cover for violent attacks. Gaza was relatively quiet after midnight, residents said. A fourth Palestinian was shot dead in protests near the border.

Earlier, Hamas defied Mr. Lieberman's calls to stop launching incendiary balloons from the coastal enclave and he threatened to order a military offensive to prevent them.

The new tank has a sensor system, which gives its commander a full view of the surroundings in his helmet, and can be equipped with a computer system based on artificial intelligence, the Israeli military said.

Israel's government initially saw the airborne tools of arson as a novel irritant and a less risky alternative to the rockets often fired by Hamas and other Islamist factions in Gaza. Israeli airstrikes targeted the al-Rawda site of the al-Qassam Brigades in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood in southeastern Gaza City, the military wing of the Hamas movement, injuring several Palestinians.

A picture taken on July 20, 2018 shows tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces landing amidst protesters along the border with Israel east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, the Washington Post published a detailed opinion piece targeting Hamas' terror policies, authored by President Donald Trump's special adviser Jared Kushner, his Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, and the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

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"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 told Reuters late on Friday. Fires caused by kites and helium-filled balloons have ravaged farmland in Israel in recent months.

The deal comes after Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

"Hamas is forcing us into a situation where we will have no choice but to embark on a large and painful military operation", Lieberman was quoted as saying by Israeli Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

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.

It came only a week after most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since the 2014 war.

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