Netanyahu rushes back to Israel after burst of Gaza violence

Netanyahu Approves Qatari Salary Deal as 'Right Step' to Avoid Gaza Collapse

Israeli air strikes have killed at least seven Palestinians in what appeared to be a targeted hit near the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza late on Sunday.

The rising tensions cut short Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Paris, where he had been attending World War I commemorations, to return home.

Liberman on Monday morning continued his security consultations at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, his office said.

The shooting began at about 9:30 P.M. Palestinian sources in Gaza said an IOF force was operating inside the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Yunis. Local reports in Gaza said Israeli planes fired missiles near the incident.

Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing, said in a brief statement that Israeli special units infiltrated Sunday evening by a auto into Ismail Abu Shanab Mosque area three kilometers in depth of east of Khan Yunis and assassinated Nour Baraka one of Qassam leader. It said militants discovered the vehicle and chased it down, prompting Israeli airstrikes that killed "a number of people".

Hamas issued a statement, saying, "We welcome the courageous resistance that is facing the cowardly Israeli attack".

After the clash erupted, sirens were reported in southern Israel, indicating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, AFP said.

Residents of Israeli communities near Gaza said the scope of these airstrikes was exceptional and "sounded nearly like a war", Haaretz said. Israel's Iron Dome system shot down at least two rockets, the military said. Residents of Gaza border communities received directions to remain near shelter.

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Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said all Israeli soldiers involved had returned to Israel.

IDF has sent eight identical "Rocket Alerts" on Twitter for the area of Eshkol near the Gaza Strip with a population of 13,600.

In the West Bank, Abbas angrily accused Israel and the U.S. of ganging up behind his back to entrench Hamas's control over Gaza. "Several alarms have sounded in southern Israel".

The dead included a local commander for Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the brigades said in a statement.

Hamas leaders in Gaza have described the $15m as their first major gain of seven months of protests.

Israel last week allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million to Hamas, while Hamas scaled back its weekly demonstration along the Israeli border.

Netanyahu had earlier defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer the cash to Gaza despite criticism from within his own government, saying he wanted to avoid a war if it wasn't necessary.

Netanyahu said the Israeli security establishment supported the move and that ministers in his security cabinet approved it.

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