IDF’s Gaza simulation drill puts Hamas on notice

Israel strikes Gaza militant sites, Palestinians fire rockets

According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, two Palestinian teenagers were killed in an airstrike on a building that was directly on top of a Hamas terror tunnel.

He said Hamas will face a "wall of steel" if it keeps up its aggression against Israel, but added that the threat wouldn't disappear overnight.

It appeared to be the first case of Gaza militants using birds to attack Israel and authorities said they were considering filing a complaint - under the appropriate global treaties - about the use of animals for militant activities.

The United Nations has warned of a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip after Israel temporarily banned the entry of gas and fuel through the Kerem Shalom crossing until Sunday. The fishing zone enforced by Israel off the Gaza Strip will also be further reduced from six nautical miles to three.

The primary target of the IAF strikes Saturday was the Hamas battalion headquarters in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Strip, the army said.

Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired a barrage of 200 rockets and mortars into southern Israel over the weekend.

Israeli forces and settlers pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and the enclave is now ruled by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Israel says some 2,500 acres of nature reserves and parks close to Gaza have been burnt thus far and it is reported to have delivered messages to Hamas that if the fires continue, it risks sparking a full-fledged war, like the three they have waged over the past decade.

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Critics of the law, which passed with 43 votes in favor and 24 against in the 120-seat Knesset, said it was a blow to core democratic values such as free speech and part of the Israeli government's effort to delegitimize rights groups and NGOs.

Israel carried out air strikes partially in response to the months of fires started by the kite firebombs, but also over continuing protests and clashes along the Gaza border.

Reiterating a sentiment he had expressed on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, "To us, there is no such thing as a ceasefire that excludes the incendiary kites and balloons".

Hamas has denounced Israel's latest punitive measure.

There have been no Israeli fatalities during the so-called "Great March of Return" demonstrations but big tracts of Israeli land have been ravaged by fires set by blazing kites or helium balloons carrying burning rags floated over from Gaza.

United Nations officials and rights activists have repeatedly called for Israel to lift the blockade against Gaza, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Gaza's only other functioning border crossing, Rafah, is with Egypt.

Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations.

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