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Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire

Three people in uniform watch a van.
Israeli police check cars with Palestinian laborers as they search for two Palestinians who broke out of a maximum-security prison last week, on a road leading to Jenin, West Bank, on Sunday.
(Ariel Schalit / Associated Press)

Israeli aircraft struck a series of targets in the Gaza Strip early Monday in response to a series of rocket launches out of the Hamas-ruled territory. It was the third consecutive night of fighting between the enemies.

Tensions have been heightened after last week’s escape from an Israeli prison by six Palestinian inmates, as well as struggling efforts by Egypt to broker a long-term cease-fire in the wake of an 11-day war in May.

The Israeli military reported three separate rocket launches late Sunday and early Monday, saying at least two of them were intercepted by its rocket defenses.

In response, it said, it attacked a number of Hamas targets. There were no reports of casualties on either side.

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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday called for a new approach to end the cycle of fighting with Hamas, describing a plan of international investment in Gaza’s infrastructure in exchange for pressure on Hamas to halt its military buildup and preserve calm.

“The policy Israel has pursued up until now hasn’t substantially changed the situation,” Lapid said during a speech at Reichman University, north of Tel Aviv. “We need to change direction.”

Samir Mansour’s bookstore was a cultural magnet for residents of the Gaza Strip until an Israeli airstrike leveled it. Now he has to start over.

Much about his proposal — which he said was made in consultation with the United States and other countries — has been floated before but never implemented because of the fighting, deep distrust and bitter internal divisions on both sides. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, whom Lapid is to replace in 2023 under a rotation agreement, did not immediately comment on the proposal.

In the latest violence, Hamas fired rockets into Israel that were shot down by the country’s Iron Dome defense system, the army said, adding that fighter jets struck a military post belonging to Hamas. Within hours, the army reported a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion Junction, south of Bethlehem.

Over the weekend, Israel caught four of the six Palestinian inmates who tunneled out of a maximum-security prison Sept. 6. Palestinian militants responded with rocket fire. Israel’s search for the last two prisoners is continuing.

Meanwhile, Egyptian-mediated efforts to deliver a long-term truce have struggled with the sides unable to agree on a system to renew Qatari payments to needy Gaza families. Israel has demanded guarantees that Hamas does not divert the money for military use.

A reporter in Tel Aviv describes what she’s seeing during the violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Gaza is an impoverished territory with a population that is overwhelmingly composed of families who fled or were forced from properties in what is now Israel during the war surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Hamas is pushing for Israel to end a crippling blockade that has devastated Gaza’s economy, while Israel is demanding that Hamas free two captive Israeli civilians and return the remains of two dead Israeli soldiers.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since ousting the forces of the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in 2007, a year after the Islamic militant group won Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Since then, Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and numerous smaller rounds of fighting.


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