Israel hits Hamas posts in response to arson kites

A truck is seen at the gate of the Kerem Shalom crossing the main passage point for goods entering Gaza in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah

Nearly continuous rockets sirens kept Israelis in the country's south just seconds away from shelters as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had launched waves of air bombardments targeting Hamas that it described as "the biggest offensive strikes since Protective Edge", the last major war between the two foes.

Following a barrage of almost 200 rockets and mortars fired into Israel on Saturday, an errant rocket fell short and knocked out electrical lines carrying power into Gaza, Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) reported Monday.

Following the Saturday escalation by Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups, the IDF responded with what was described as the most extensive Israeli bombing campaign against terror targets inside the Gaza Strip since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.

Today the Israeli military said it was conducting strikes against Hamas "in response to the terror acts instigated during the violent riots that took place along the security fence" the day before.

Israel's army said the strikes targeted an area near where arson balloons were launched.

Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East, was speaking just hours after an escalation in violence that saw 200 projectiles fired towards Israel from Gaza and dozens of airstrikes launched in response, according to Israel Defense Forces.

Her comments came after an Israeli missile hit a half-constructed high rise in Gaza, leaving two teenagers dead. Haaretz reported that four Israelis were lightly wounded after a rocket fired from Gaza struck their home in the southern city of Sderot.

"The protection and the defence of our people is a national duty and a strategic choice", Barhoum said.

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Israel struck at two Hamas facilities on Monday as Palestinians continued launching incendiary kites and balloons into Israel.

He said Hamas will face a "wall of steel" if it keeps up its aggression against Israel, but added that the threat wouldn't disappear overnight.

Earlier this week, Israel shut down Kerem Shalom, the Gaza Strip's only commercial crossing, tightening the siege on the Palestinian enclave as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ominously warned of "additional steps". Militants have tried repeatedly to break through the border fence, attacked soldiers, and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in southern Israel with kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs and explosives.

Palestinians in Gaza have been participating in the Great March of Return since 30 March, calling for an end to the 11-year Israeli-led blockade on Gaza and for Palestinian refugees' right of return to the lands that their families fled during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the protests.

No Israelis have been killed.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said the teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were killed by shrapnel from an Israeli attack on the training facility.

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