Netanyahu defends the transfer of $15m to Hamas militants

Netanyahu defends the transfer of $15m to Hamas militants

Qassam members discovered the vehicle and chased it, prompting Israeli airstrikes that killed several people, the group said.

Palestinians fired 17 rockets into southern Israel late on Sunday in response to the incursion and air strikes, which Hamas, the dominant armed group in Gaza, said were meant to cover the retreat of a auto used by the Israeli troops.

It was announced on Sunday night that the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would cut short his visit to Paris and return home because of the fighting.

The clashes prompted Israeli airstrikes and a salvo of rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel. It was not immediately clear where the others had landed.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the operation was "not meant to kill or abduct terrorists but to strengthen Israeli security".

Palestinian security sources said the clash occurred east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Gaza militants have rockets capable of reaching into the Israeli heartland, where Ben-Gurion International Airport is located.

At least seven Palestinians, including a Hamas military commander, were martyred and another seven injured late Sunday in an Israeli raid in southern Gaza Strip, said officials.

Israel's military had not confirmed those details nor described what type of operation it carried out.

Witnesses said that during the chase Israeli aircraft fired over 40 missiles in the area where the incident took place, killing four other people.

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Palestinians sit at the remains of a building that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip November 12, 2018.

The Palestinians said seven people, among them at least five militants, were killed in the conflagration. He was identified as Nour Baraka.

Six of the Palestinians killed belonged to Hamas and the seventh was a member of the militant Popular Resistance Committees, AFP news agency cited Palestinian officials as saying.

One officer was killed and a second was wounded, it said.

According to reports, the incident occurred deep in the Gaza Strip as Lt. Col. M together with an IDF special forces team went on a mission to either kill or capture a senior Hamas terrorist. He had been attending remembrance events marking the centenary of the end of world war one.

The clash comes after months of deadly unrest along the Gaza-Israel border, which had appeared to be calming.

Recent weeks have seen Israeli decisions to allow Qatar to provide the Gaza Strip with millions of dollars in aid for salaries as well as fuel to help ease an electricity crisis.

Naftali Bennet, Netanyahu's education minister and right-wing rival, compared the cash flow to "protection money" paid to criminals. It said that militants then launched 17 rockets from Gaza toward Israeli communities, where school and train service was cancelled in response, and that it had reinforced troops and its aerial defense system along the border following the flare-up.

According to Palestinian sources, the Israeli unit was about 3km (2 miles) inside the Gaza Strip, which borders Israel, when militants from Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, stopped the auto.

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