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IDF soldier killed, another injured during Special Forces operation in Gaza

IDF soldier killed, another injured during Special Forces operation in Gaza

A Hamas official said violence erupted when a group of its armed men were fired at from a passing auto belonging to Israeli security forces and Hamas members gave chase.

The Israeli squad became exposed after taking out Barakah and was forced to retreat back to the other side of the fence under the cover of aerial bombardment, the statement from the military wing said on Twitter.

According to local Palestinian outlets, the head of Hamas's eastern Khan Younis battalion was killed in the drone strike, along with at least five other unidentified people.

The Israeli incursion and air attacks drew rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled enclave, with sirens sounding in Israeli communities along the border.

It said militants discovered the auto and chased it down, prompting Israeli airstrikes that killed "a number of people".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cut his trip to Paris for World War I commemorations short to return to Israel after the violence erupted along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, a spokesperson said.

Ten launches from Gaza towards Israel were identified and two were intercepted by Israeli missile defences, the army said.

IOF confirmed that there had been an exchange of fire "during operational activity" and said all its soldiers were now back in Israel. Gaza militants have rockets capable of reaching into the Israeli heartland, where Ben-Gurion International Airport is located.

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

Netanyahu defended the decision, saying it would calm tensions and prevent a Palestinian humanitarian crisis.

"We held serious discussions", he said ahead of his flight to Paris, where he will join world leaders marking the centenary of the end of World War I. He said the step was coordinated with security officials to restore quiet for Israeli citizens living near the Gaza border and to avert a humanitarian crisis.

The incident shattered what appeared to be a turning point after months of bloodshed along the Israel-Gaza border.

"Everyone knows where that money is going to go ultimately", said Netanyahu's agriculture minister, Uri Ariel.

Violence has flared frequently on the frontier since Palestinians began weekly protests on March 30.

Tens of thousands of Hamas civil servants have seen sporadic wage payments since 2014, as the Palestinian Authority has refused to add to its payroll some 40,000 Hamas public sector employees hired after the Islamists took control of the Gaza Strip in a near civil war in 2007.

Qatar has also said it would hand out $100 to each of 50,000 poor families, as well as larger sums to Palestinians wounded in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border.