On Tuesday, Palestinian militants bombarded southern Israel with dozens of rockets and mortar shells, while Israeli warplanes hit targets throughout the Gaza Strip in the biggest flare of violence between sides since a war in 2014
The Israeli military said that most of the projectiles were intercepted, but three soldiers were injured, increasing the chances of further Israeli retaliation. A mortar shell landed shortly before the opening near a kindergarten.
The sudden outbreak of violence follows weeks of Palestinian mass protests along the Israeli border. More than 110 Palestinians, many of them unarmed protesters, were killed by Israeli fire during that time. Israel says it holds Gazas Hamas rulers responsible for the bloodshed.
"Israel will demand a high price from those who want to harm it, and we consider Hamas responsible for preventing such attacks," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 1
The last war in 2014 was particularly devastating: More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of civilians causing damage to the Gaza infrastructure in 50 days of combat. Seventy-two people were killed on the Israeli side.
The acts of violence on Tuesday had a striking resemblance to the advance of past wars. In the early morning, Palestinian militants fired more than two dozen mortar shells into southern Israel, including the grenade that landed near the kindergarten.
The Israeli military said it had carried out more than 35 air strikes at seven locations in Gaza, including an unfinished tunnel near the southern city of Rafah, which crosses the border into Egypt and thence into Israeli territory. No Palestinian victims were reported.
Palestinian militants continued to fire additional dams against southern Israel, causing air raid sirens in the area during the day and into the evening.
Brig. General Ronen Manelis, the head of the military, threatened with tougher action and said it was Hamas' job to prevent the situation escalating.
"These strikes will continue to intensify if this fire continues," he told reporters outside Israel's military headquarters
Hamas and the smaller militant Islamic Jihad entered on Tuesday In a joint statement calling for joint responsibility for firing rockets and projectiles into Israeli communities near Gaza, Israel said it "started this round of escalation" by targeting its facilities and killing four militants in the past two days. It was the first time that the armed wing of Hamas has taken responsibility for rocket attacks from Gaza since the 2014 war.
Hamas was severely weakened by the three wars with Israel and a crushing Israeli-Egyptian blockade, bringing the local economy to a standstill.
Hamas initially calculated the weekly border protests as an invitation to break the fence and return to homes lost to the Israeli establishment 70 years ago during the war
primarily through a desire to ease the blockade , Gaza's unemployment rate is approaching 50 percent, and the area suffers from chronic blackouts.
With limited possibilities and a failure of the protests to significantly reduce the blockade, Hamas seems to play this limited rocket fire could somehow shake the situation.
Ismail Radwan, a Hamas official, said that "resistance is capable of harming the occupation, and he proved it today by responding to his crimes."
Israel says the blockade is necessary Prevent Hamas from building military capabilities
On Tuesday, two fishing boats with students and medical patients from the port of Gaza are at sea in order to reach Cyprus and break through the Israeli blockade that has restricted most activities along the coast. Hamas acknowledged that it was primarily a symbolic act.
One of the boats turned around quickly while the Israeli Navy intercepted the second ship (10 kilometers) border imposed by Israel
The Israeli military said the boat was intercepted without incident and into the Israeli port was brought by Ashdod, where the 17 people on board should be sent back to Gaza
Israel, angry residents complained about the renewed rocket fire.
Adva Klein from Kibbutz Kfar Aza said she only got two hours sleep because of the frequent fire and alarm sirens. Other residents reported machine gun fire from Gaza.
"It was a really scary morning," said Adele Raemer from Kibbutz Nirim.
Regional councils near the Gaza border warned residents to stay near bunkers.
The high Palestinian death toll in the border protests has led to intense international criticism of Israel. Human rights groups say that Israel's use of fire is banned because in many cases unarmed protesters have not immediately threatened Israeli soldiers
But on Tuesday Palestinians came under fire
The US condemned the attacks from Gaza and demanded an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the Security Council must "be outraged and react"
Federica Mogherini, the foreign affairs chief of the European Union, called for an immediate halt to the rocket and mortar fire.
"Random attacks on civilians are" This is absolutely unacceptable, "she said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it has directed embassies around the world to seek similar condemnations of the Palestinian fire.
Israel has the Rejecting criticism of his reaction to the protests Defending his border and surrounding communities, he accuses Hamas of attempting to carry out attacks and using civilian demonstrators as human shields under the guise of protests.
Hamas has sworn to continue the border rallies.