Israel and Hamas entered into the first day of ceasefire near the Gaza strip on Saturday after the Israeli military retaliated against the terrorist organization, blaming them for the death of a 20-year-old Israeli soldier who was shot and killed at the border fence on Friday.
“At the end of an assessment by the southern command this morning it was decided to maintain a full civilian routine in the communities close to the Gaza strip,” the Israeli army announced on Saturday morning. Still, the fighting continued even after the announcement, as the Israeli army targeted Hamas fighters with tank fire after they allegedly attempted to cross into Israel from Gaza.
The soldier’s death marks the first of Israeli origin since the beginning of the violent Palestinian protests near the border between Gaza and Israel called the “Great March of Return,” where Palestinians are fighting over imposed blockades at the Gaza Strip as well as the U.S. decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Over 130 Palestinians have been killed over the past several months since the protests began in March, according to the Washington Post.
“It was a very severe event and one we cannot tolerate,” said Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus to the Washington Post on Saturday.
In response to the death of their soldier, Israel ratcheted up attacks in the region, reporting that it hit at least 60 military targets with continuous airstrikes and tank fire, according to Haaretz.
Calls for peace resonated as the fighting escalated, threatening a full on war, and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process tweeted with urgency the necessity to stop the violence.
The Israeli military holds the Hamas terrorist organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, responsible for all of the attacks across the border including the death of thier soldier. Protesters have waged a continuous campaign of launching fire-filled balloons to assault Israel, but Israeli government officials say that the protests are only a front for terrorist crime.
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