Hamas has vowed to halt airborne arson attacks, top Israeli official says

ISRAEL UNLEASHED: Jerusalem BLASTS TARGETS in Gaza After 'Shooting Incident'

The Israeli Air Force launched a "wide-scale attack" against Hamas military targets in Gaza on Friday, according to a statement from the Israeli military.

Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier along the Gaza border on Friday, said the Israeli military, which launched dozens of strikes into Gaza that killed four Palestinians, including three Hamas fighters.

An Israeli army statement said shots were fired at troops during renewed protests along the Gaza border with Israel and "in response, (Israeli) aircraft and tanks targeted military targets throughout the Gaza Strip".

Palestinian residents said the area was calm after midnight, and an Israeli Army spokeswoman confirmed there was no known military activity in the Gaza Strip. A fourth Palestinian, Mohammed Badwan, was also reported dead.

The Israeli Defence Force did not name the soldier, but said he had been hit by Palestinian gunfire.

In recent weeks, Palestinians have shifted their focus to sending to burning kites and helium balloons over the Israeli border fence and into the farmland beyond.

Palestinians have been protesting every Friday since March 30, demanding their right to return to the homes and land their families were expelled from 70 years ago.

ISRAEL UNLEASHED: Jerusalem BLASTS TARGETS in Gaza After 'Shooting Incident'

"The event that happened today is something that we can not tolerate and can not allow to become a routine norm, that's why we retaliated and that's why we continue to target military targets belonging to Hamas", Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. Israel and Hamas have fought three such wars over the past decade and Hamas agreed to the second such cease-fire in a week under heavy Egyptian and global pressure.

"There has been no calm in Gaza for many, many decades", she said.

The Palestinians who attempted to cross the Gaza border returned back to the enclave, causing an IDF tank to strike the Hamas observation tower in response to the infiltration attempts.

The UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, wrote on Twitter: "Everyone in Gaza needs to step back from the brink". He was the first Israeli combatant to been killed in the area since the last full-scale conflict with Gaza's rulers, Hamas, in 2014.

But the Hamas source claimed incendiary balloons and kites, which Palestinians have been floating over the border for months to spark fires inside Israel, were not included in the agreement.

Since the protests began, Israeli forces have killed more than 140 Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave and wounded more than 16,000 people, according to health officials in Gaza.

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