Israel Strikes Gaza After Shots Fired at Soldiers

The UN and Egypt brokered the ceasefire after intense Israeli air raids

Israel carried out "wide-scale" airstrikes and deployed tanks against militant sites in Gaza, killing four Palestinians on Friday after gunmen shot at soldiers near the border, officials said.

The escalation comes after months of growing tensions in Gaza as Palestinians mounted large, and often violent, demonstrations and Israeli forces opened fire on both armed militants and unarmed demonstrators.

"Hamas chose to escalate the security situation - and will bear the consequences for its actions", the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, later tweeting that its fighter jets had struck 15 targets, including "weaponry warehouses" and "equipment storage". Later Friday night, rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel, and the military said it had detected at least three launches from Gaza, with two intercepted.

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"It was a very severe event and one we can not tolerate", said Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Gaza's ministry of health said that other people were injured.

The past week had seen efforts to try to keep the situation under control, but Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned on Friday of a "much tougher" response against Hamas if continued to fire rockets from the Gaza Strip.

He said they would be returned only as part of a deal similar to that in 2011 under which captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinians jailed in Israel.

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The protests are partly meant to draw attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

Last weekend saw the most severe bout of daytime fighting since the last Gaza war in 2014.

Mladenov said on Twitter that "Everyone in Gaza needs to step back from the brink".

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Analysts were expecting earnings per share of $1.08 on revenue of $29.2 billion for the last quarter of Microsoft's fiscal year. It was up 23 percent YoY to $9.6 billion for the quarter, and reached $32.2 billion for the year, marking a 15 percent increase.

Two Palestinian teenagers were killed and about 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza. Right NOW! Those who want to provoke #Palestinians and #Israelis into another war must not succeed.

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