Israel boosts security measures in Gaza amid tensions


Israeli Leader Defends Money Transfer to Gaza

Palestinians stand next to the remains of a vehicle, that was destroyed following an Israeli air strike, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018.

The IDF said Monday that it was deploying additional Iron Dome batteries to protect southern Israeli communities from rocket attacks after at least 17 rockets were fired in retaliation for the deadly Israeli raid east of Khan Younis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed back to Israel on Monday, hours after an Israeli army officer and seven Palestinians, including a local Hamas commander, were killed after an incursion by Israeli special forces into the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli-authorised money transfer appeared to be part of talks that would see Islamist movement Hamas end months of often violent protests along the border in exchange for Israel easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

According to Palestinian sources, the Israeli unit was about 3km (2 miles) inside the Gaza Strip, which borders Israel, when it fired at Nur Barakeh, a commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam brigades, the group's military wing. It said militants discovered the auto and chased it down, prompting Israeli airstrikes that killed "a number of people".

Earlier, he said that there could be no political settlement with Hamas, just as there could be no such settlement with the Islamic State.

Israeli emergency health service Magen David Adom (MDA) reported that a 19-year-old Israeli man was evacuated by medics in critical condition in the Shaar HaNegev regional council.

In response, Gaza militant groups fired barrages of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, according to Israeli media and local Gaza media reports. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman discussed the situation with Israel's military officials after this incident.

"By retaliating, they are legitimizing themselves as targets for further Israeli air strikes, and by doing nothing risking the ire of Gazans who feel that Israeli forces are now being allowed to conduct targeted assassinations at will in the coastal enclave", he explained.

Negotiations for the financial package to Gaza began months earlier, following the Palestinian Authority's decision to cut salaries of employees in Gaza a year ago, an Israeli government source with knowledge of the matter told CNN.

Details of the raid, including the full identity of the officer killed during the mission, remained subject to military censor.

The overnight violence came after several months of confrontations along the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence.

Hamas authorities beefed up security measures after the incident, deploying checkpoints across Gaza in a show of force after what appeared to be a major security breach for the militant group.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza since the Hamas takeover.

Last week, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million in aid to Gaza's cash-strapped Hamas rulers.

Netanyahu, who had been attending World War I commemorations in Paris, arrived back home on Monday and was to convene a meeting of security chiefs. "It's a process. I think at this time, this is the right step".

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