Escalation on Gaza kills six Palestinians in less than 24 hours

Palestinians stand next to the remains of a car said to be destroyed following an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip

Of the three cities, Ashkelon is closest to Gaza.

An Israeli drone fired a missile targeting a group of Palestinians in Beit Lahiya area, killing a 29 year-old man who was identified as Khaled Maroof.

"In response to yesterday's crime, the joint command of Palestinian factions announce the beginning of bombardment of the enemy's settlements with scores of rockets", Hamas's armed wing said in a statement after funerals were held for the militants. "These are serious violations of worldwide humanitarian law and constitute war crimes".

Hamas fired over 200 rockets from Gaza on Monday evening.

In Gaza, schools, government offices and banks were closed on Tuesday while classes were also cancelled in Israeli towns near the border. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped to reach an "arrangement" that would avoid another conflict and ease Israeli-blockaded Gaza's economic hardships.

The building for Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV was destroyed in an Israeli strike after a series of warning shots, with the Israeli army saying the station "contributes to Hamas's military actions".

The Israeli military says some 400 rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza since Monday afternoon, with about 100 of them intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system.

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The recent clashes between Israel and the Hamas militant group running Gaza erupted on Monday after a Hamas commander was killed in a covert Israeli operation.

Medics reported one person severely wounded.

Israeli media are reporting that a meeting of the Security Cabinet has ended after more than six hours. Official Palestinian sources place the number of Palestinian dead at 14, with widespread damage as a result of over 150 Israeli airstrikes. Qassam members discovered the vehicle and chased it, prompting Israeli airstrikes that killed several people, the group said.

Tel Aviv's air strikes killed at least seven Palestinians in what appeared to be a targeted hit near the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza near the border with Israel on Sunday.

Israel says it is defending its border against militant infiltrations, but its army has come under worldwide criticism because of the large number of unarmed protesters who have been shot.

The army said an Israeli bus was hit by fire from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian protesters have been demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland by Israeli wars and other acts of aggression since 1948.

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