Pause In Palestinian Rocket Attacks, Israeli Airstrikes, Amid Unofficial Cease-Fire

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Israeli jets pounded dozens of military targets in the impoverished territory after what it said were cross-border rocket and mortar attacks by Gaza's Hamas rulers and the militant group Islamic Jihad. No Palestinian casualties were reported. One mortar shell landed near a kindergarten shortly before it opened.

A few moments before the announcement came, additional air raid sirens were heard in Ashkelon, Netivot, and all of the towns in the Gaza periphery as another barrage of missiles swept the area.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett denied the truce and said that the government had not "reached an agreement with Hamas, not even an informal agreement". Israeli officials signaled they aren't looking for escalation, but warned that continued firing from Gaza could lead to a harsher Israeli response.

The United States is calling on the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Hamas rocket fire against Israel when it meets on Wednesday.

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"This is another wave of attacks by the IDF against the terrorist targets of the Hamas terrorist organization, which bears responsibility for all events in and from the Gaza Strip, as well as the severe attacks against Israeli citizens", said the IDF Spokesperson in a statement.

The situation on the border escalated on Monday, particularly after an Israeli tank attacked a militant observation post in response to an attempted violation of the border by two Palestinians.

Israeli forces killed at least 116 Palestinians and wounded thousands including women and unarmed demonstrators in the protests, drawing foreign censure of Israel's deadly tactics.

Hamas is attempting to "turn the border into an active combat zone", Conricus told reporters.

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Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas from building up its military capabilities.

Israeli forces later stopped and seized the main protest boat as it approached the blockade limit at nine nautical miles, while others were said to have turned back. Other residents reported machine- gun fire from Gaza. "The resistance factions will abide by it as long as the occupation does the same", he added, using the Palestinian term for Israel.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, called for an immediate halt to the rocket and mortar fire.

Many said Iran's fingerprints were all over the attack. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have expanded. More than 800 Jews signed an online letter criticising Board of Deputies' president Jonathan Arkush and president-elect Marie van der Zyl for "failing to place any responsibility on Israel" in the aftermath of the clashes. It accuses Hamas of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of protests and using civilian demonstrators as human shields.

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