Israel Authorities Tighten Security Measures Around Gaza Strip Amid Clashes


The Israeli raid into Khan Younis on Sunday night and the ensuing battles and airstrikes that left seven Palestinians and one Israeli officer dead and others wounded were the highlight of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies on Monday.

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

Rocket-warning sirens later sounded in southern Israel and several rockets fired from Gaza were shot down.

Israel's military provided few details on the incident, saying only that "during an IDF's Special Forces operational activity in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of fire evolved".

Hamas also cancelled a weekly beach protest in northwestern Gaza along the border with Israel.

"I bow my head in sadness at the loss of Lt. Col. M., a glorious fighter who fell during an IDF operation in the Gaza Strip", Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

Hamas said the incident began when Israeli agents opened fire on a group of Hamas militants from a passing unmarked auto east of the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, killing commander Nour Baraka.

A spokesman for Hamas, the militant Islamist group that dominates Gaza, described the incident as a "cowardly Israeli attack".

He said the money would be used to pay for salaries, while also contributing to medical care of the wounded after often violent clashes along the Gaza border.

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National Transportation Safety Board, which automatically assists with inquiries under global rules, was notified, officials said. It said Flight OJ256 "suffered an accident on landing", but had no other details on the nature of the accident.

Hamas is demanding an expansion of the permissible fishing zone off the Israeli-controlled Gaza coast, uninterrupted flow of fuel to mitigate chronic power shortages and the lifting of Israeli restrictions on exports and imports.

Local witnesses said the aircraft fired over 20 missiles during the strikes, Press TV reported.

Israeli media source said that, after the army assault, Al-Qassam fired at least ten shells into Israel area, and added that the Iron Done system "intercepted two of them".

Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said the groups made a decision to retaliate for the deadly Israeli incursion "so the occupation and its supporters know that the lives of our sons come with a price".

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

"I do not shrink from a necessary war but I want to avoid it when it is not essential", Netanyahu said at a press conference for Israeli journalist accompanying him in Paris.

While Mr Abbas' umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has signed peace accords with Israel, Hamas does not recognise Israel's right to exist and advocates the use of violence against it.

Hamas, the militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, launched a feverish security sweep across the territory, setting up checkpoints across the territory in a show of force after what appeared to be a major security breach for the militant group. "We expect the world to stand with us", he said.

Right-wing Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who has been critical of any arrangement with Hamas, acknowledged the communications between Liebermann and al-Thani when he said on Israel Radio on Sunday that the two were at the "height of their contacts" in July.