Gaza Mortar Hits Israeli Kindergarten Amid Largest Artillery Barrage Since 2014

An Israeli soldier pulls an injured Palestinian demonstrator in the West Bank town of Birzeit near Ramallah

After Gaza militants fired some 30 mortars shells early Tuesday, Israel responded fiercely, threatening to set off another round of confrontations.

Three Israeli soldiers were wounded.

They were shot dead by Israeli snipers amid protests which saw thousands of Palestinians mass on the Gaza-Israel border in support of their refugee population.

Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group in Gaza which claimed responsibility for the projectile fire along with Hamas, already declared a ceasefire on Tuesday.

The US-drafted council statement would demand that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups "cease all violent activity and provocative actions, including along the boundary fence, and cease putting civilians at risk through their actions". Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 however, citing safety issues, maintains tight management of its land and sea borders, which has lowered its financial system to a state of collapse.

Their joint statement blamed Israel for targeting their fighters and military positions during the preceding 48 hours, cautioned against attempts to "dictate new equations" on the status quo, and warned that they would reciprocate "shelling with shelling and blood with blood", said the United Nations envoy.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the coastal enclave, as it has ruled Gaza since 2007.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the Security Council "should be outraged and respond".

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Some mortars landed, included one in the grounds of a kindergarten in the Eshkol region, which borders the Gaza Strip, shortly before pupils were due to arrive.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz denied talk of a deal, though a senior defence official reportedly said Israel would refrain from further strikes if there was no more fire from Gaza.

Hamas' decision to stop the attacks suggests it means to avoid another war, one that might well end its control of Gaza.

Amid global condemnation for its use of lethal force at the mass demonstrations, Israel said numerous dead were militants and that the army was repelling attacks on the border fence.

How can a state with an arsenal of deadly weapons as big as Israel and which considers itself a regional force superior to the rest of the region's countries on a military level, pursue a ship carrying the ill and students who's only aspiration is to leave the besieged Gaza Strip for treatment and education?

Israel's military said it was "currently operating in the Gaza Strip".

But the protests appear to be fueled primarily by a desire to ease the blockade. Israel has alleged Hamas used the protests as a cover for border attacks.

"It can not be divorced from the context of the two months of protests at the Gaza fence in which some 110 Palestinians were killed and large numbers were injured". Islamic Jihad is the second-largest armed group in Gaza after Hamas. Israeli forces have killed more than 100 people in those protests, including 60 in one day on May 14.

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