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July 20, 2018 12:39 pm

Israel Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza After IDF Soldier Killed by Sniper on Border

avatar by Algemeiner Staff and Agencies

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border, May 29, 2018. Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90.

The Israeli military struck dozens Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip late Friday after an IDF soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper on the border earlier in the day.

According to media reports, at least four Hamas members have died in the Israeli strikes.

As of press time, the name of the slain IDF soldier had not yet been cleared for publication.

Israelis who live near the Gaza border have been instructed to remain near bomb shelters, in light of the potential for a severe escalation, including rocket and mortar fire.

On Friday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss the situation in Gaza and weigh future steps.

At around 8:30 p.m. Israel time, air raid sirens sounded in the Sdot Negev and Sha’ar Hanegev areas of southern Israel, warning of an incoming volley of rockets from Gaza. Two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. No injuries or damage were reported.

Earlier on Friday, before the border incident, Lieberman said during a visit to the southern town of Sderot, “We are trying to be balanced and responsible, but Hamas’ leaders are forcing us into a situation in which we will have no choice but to embark on a broad and painful military operation.”

“I think responsibility will fall entirely on Hamas’ shoulders, but I’m sorry to say that ordinary Gazans will have to pay the price,” he added.

Last weekend, terrorists in Gaza fired more than 100 rockets into southern Israel and the IDF responded with strikes on dozens of targets in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

On Sunday, the IDF deployed an Iron Dome battery in the Tel Aviv area.

Clashes at the Israel-Gaza border have kept tensions high for months. More than 130 Palestinian rioters have been shot dead by Israeli forces since March during weekly disturbances at the frontier.

Israel says Hamas has been orchestrating the unrest to provide cover for terrorists’ cross-border attacks.

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