Six killed in 'exchange of fire' during Israeli Gaza operation

Israeli warplanes bombed the studios of Hamas's television station in the Gaza Strip on Monday during a surge in cross-border fighting, Palestinian officials and witnesses said. By early morning hours, 17 launches were identified, a military spokesperson said, adding that the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted three launches.

"During IDF special forces' operational activity in Gaza, an exchange of fire broke out, during which an IDF officer was killed and an additional IDF officer was moderately injured", the army said.

It was not immediately clear what set off the sudden, rare late-night burst of violence.

Sunday's attack comes as Israel and Hamas, who controls Gaza, appeared to be making progress toward an unofficial ceasefire.

The Israeli army did not reveal the identity of its soldier who was killed in the operation, claiming to do so would undermine Israel's security. Hamas militants discovered the auto and chased it, prompting Israeli airstrikes that killed several people, the group said.

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.

The Israelis called in airstrikes to cover their retreat, Reuters explained, with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) aircraft firing more than 40 missiles at a host of targets in the surrounding area.

One Israeli soldier was killed on the Gaza-Israel border by a Palestinian sniper in July. Hamas ordered post offices to remain open on Friday and Saturday - the normal weekend in Gaza - to handle the cash disbursements, a Hamas spokesman told CNN.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris for a lunch after participating in a World War I Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018.

The rocket barrage followed a firefight between an IDF Special Forces unit and Hamas troops near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

At the weekend, Israel allowed the transfer of a reported $15 million in cash to the Gaza Strip from Qatar, partly for the payment of wages to government employees.

Israeli medics said at least 10 people were hurt. The organizers cited "the ongoing security situation".

Sunday's clashes threaten to upend weeks of United Nations and Egyptian-led diplomacy to reach a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

In the past two days, a group of Gaza settlers closed the main road leading to the Strip in an attempt to prevent the arrival of trucks carrying fuel and goods destined for Kerem Shalom crossing, in protest against the agreement with Hamas.

About 170 demonstrators, many unarmed, have been killed by Israeli fire in the months of confrontations, which appeared to be reaching a turning point with the steps toward an unofficial cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Netanyahu was in Paris for the World War I centenary conference, where he was meeting with several world leaders. "I do not have a political solution with the Islamic State, I don't have a solution for Iran as long as it declares it wants to destroy us, there is no such (political) solution", he said.

  • Rogelio Becker