Tense calm, cease fire follows another Hamas Israel flare up

Buildings and cars in the southern Israeli city of Sderot were damaged by rockets fired from Gaza Aug. 8 2018

Buildings and cars in the southern Israeli city of Sderot were damaged by rockets fired from Gaza Aug. 8 2018

Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV channel reported, "on the basis of mutual calm", that the deal had taken hold.

It said the deal was mediated by Egypt and other regional players.

The Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing classified negotiations, said that cease-fire talks were in their final stage but that disagreements remained. A person in Gaza said early Friday it was quiet there since midnight, with no apparent Israeli jets in the sky.

"Israel is being inundated with Hamas rocket fire from Gaza", the coalition said in a tweet that included a picture of the devastation and text saying "180 rockets and counting".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet said in a statement late Thursday that it had directed the Israeli military "to continue taking strong action" against militants in Gaza.

There was no immediate Israeli comment.

Angry that major media outlets are highlighting the fact that its latest wave of bombings killed a pregnant woman and her young child, the Israeli government has begun openly pressuring news outlets that dare to report its war crimes accurately. The woman's husband was injured and was said to be in critical condition.

On the Israeli side, at least seven people were wounded.

Last night, after a 20-hour escalation, Hamas said that a truce had been reached. A statement issued by his office said the forum instructed the military to "keep acting with force against the terrorists".

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The health ministry added that around 12 Palestinians were injured, two critically, and were transferred to the hospital for treatment. "The UN has engaged with Egypt and all concerned parties in an unprecedented effort to avoid such a development", he said.

"Our collective efforts have prevented the situation from exploding until now", Mladenov said. "If the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people", Mladenov said. Israel in turn needs to send the message that there's a "price to pay", he said.

"We will continue to defend our citizens against terror rockets as any other state would", he said.

Tension along the Israel-Gaza border has escalated since late March, when Hamas launched what would become regular mass protests along Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza.

Over the past four months, 163 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including at least 120 protesters, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and a local rights group. For more than a decade Gaza has been controlled by Hamas under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has collapsed its economy, creating what the World Bank has described as a humanitarian crisis with shortages of water, electricity and medicine.

After the violence in July, a spokesman for Hamas told Reuters that a cease-fire had been reached. Air raid sirens wailed in southern Israel overnight and throughout the day, sending families scrambling into bomb shelters, canceling outdoor summer cultural events and forcing summer camps indoors.

An Israeli man outside a house in Sderot damaged by shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza.

The Los Angeles Times, for its part, clearly stated in the very first sentence of its story the cause and effect of Palestinian rocket fire and subsequent Israeli airstrikes: "Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, fired at least 70 rockets Wednesday across the border into Israel, which retaliated with airstrikes on the Palestinian territory".

After the long-range Palestinian missile attack, the first of its kind since a 2014 war, Israeli air strikes resumed on Thursday afternoon, flattening a multi-storey building that the Israeli military described as a Hamas headquarters.

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