'The sky was red': Gaza residents recount botched Israeli special operation

Rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel

Rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel

"Imagine if Palestinians crossed into Israel and killed [seven] Israelis, all hell would break loose but Palestinians are expected to just accept this", Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, wrote on Twitter.

An Israeli airstrike on Monday evening destroyed the Gaza City headquarters of Hamas's Al Aqsa TV station, after Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel.

Israel insisted that its Sunday night raid and severe escalation was nothing morethan an intelligence mission gone awry - an explanation that was rejected by Palestinians and described by one commentator as "deeply embarrassing".

Rockets struck homes in the coastal city of Ashkelon and the southern Israeli towns of Sderot and Netivot, sparking fires.

On Monday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was called back from Paris in the wake of the incident, Israeli officials refused to reveal specific details about the operation, but said they had not meant to kill or arrest anyone.

Israel hasn't consistently determined the perimeter of this access-restricted area along the fence with Gaza, and it has often employed deadly violence to ward off Gaza residents.

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James Sorene, chief executive of BICOM, tweeted that neither Hamas nor Israeli leaders wanted another war, but said: "The grim reality is that deaths on either side will mean a heavier retaliatory response". He said that his group and other terrorist factions will respond to the IDF operation.

Seven Palestinians, including a commander of Hamas' military wing, and one Israeli soldier were killed late on Sunday after Israeli special forces entered the Gaza Strip, possibly for the first time since the 2014 war.

In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority condemned what it termed the "ugly crime perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army east of Khan Yunis". The AP says the United Nations and Egypt are trying to mediate an end to this latest outburst of violence.

Rockets could be seen being launched out of Gaza toward Israel on Monday, and Israel's Iron Dome rocket defence system was deployed.

Israel's military acknowledged hitting the building, saying in a statement "it contributes to Hamas's military actions, including by providing operational messaging to militants, directing and explicitly calling for terror activities against Israel, and providing guidance on how to carry out such terror activities".

Shortly after 4:30 p.m., terrorists fired a Kornet anti-tank guided missile at a bus parked a few hundred meters from the Gaza border, seriously injuring a 19-year-old Israeli soldier, the army said.

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An exchange of fire followed in which local Al-Qassam commander Nour Baraka was killed along with another militant, it said.

A statement from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, said "Zionist enemy special forces", in a civilian vehicle, reached 3.2km into Gaza, east of the Palestinian town of Khan Younis.

Monday's clash came days after Hamas had quieted recent protests along the Israeli border and Israel was allowing more aid to flow into Gaza.

Residents in Gaza were shocked on Monday, telling MEE that they never imagined Israeli forces would enter the enclave.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and recent months have raised fears of a fourth.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that time.

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