Netanyahu defends Qatari cash infusion to Gaza

Netanyahu defends Qatari cash infusion to Gaza

Seven Palestinians, including a local militant commander, have been killed during a covert Israeli operation in Gaza, Palestinian officials say.

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 was not immediately clear where the others had landed.

Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza identified the casualties in the exchange of fire that followed Baraka's assassination as: Nouriddin Salama, 37, Mohammad al-Qarra, 23, Alaa Qweeder, 22, Mustafa abu-Odeh, 21, and Mahmoud Musabbeh, 25.

"During (Israeli military) operational activity in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of fire evolved". He had been attending remembrance events marking the centenary of the end of world war one.

Iseaeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris and was returning to Israel after intense fighting broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip and a string of rocket sirens wailed across southern Israel. Shortly before departing to Paris early Sunday he said he had allowed the transfer to go forward in coordination with Israeli security officials.

A Hamas spokesman denounced a "cowardly Israeli attack". Two others were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

"Israel's security cabinet met in a late-night session convened by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at the IDF 'Kirya" headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The flare-up came as Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers had appeared to be making progress toward ratcheting down months of border violence.

Alibaba shopping extravaganza earns US$10b in first hour
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Israel's military had not confirmed those details nor described what type of operation it carried out.

Recent weeks have seen Israeli decisions to allow Qatar to provide the Gaza Strip with millions of dollars in aid for salaries as well as fuel to help ease an electricity crisis.

Earlier, Gazan media outlets reported that Israel had agreed to allow Qatar to transfer funds to the Hamas government in the enclave to cover their civil servants' salaries for six months.

Israel's army is warning of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip after a Hamas commander allegedly was killed in a Gaza raid that also left one Israeli officer dead.

Naftali Bennet, Netanyahu's education minister and right-wing rival, compared the cash flow to "protection money" paid to criminals.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that time.

Major protests along the Gaza-Israel border began on March 30.

Hamas said the Israeli actions dealt a blow to Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations efforts to broker a long-term ceasefire between the Palestinian group and Israel and ease an Israeli blockade that has deepened economic hardship in Gaza.

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