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Israel hits several areas across Gaza, Presidency warns of escalation

July 20, 2018 9:50 P.M. (Updated: July 28, 2018 2:22 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes carried out several airstrikes reportedly targeting Hamas sites across different areas of the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday evening.

Israeli airstrikes targeted the al-Rawda site of the al-Qassam Brigades in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood in southeastern Gaza City, the military wing of the Hamas movement, injuring several Palestinians.

A Ma'an reporter said that Israeli warplanes also targeted two sites in western Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip with 11 missiles; no injuries were reported.

The airstrikes came after the Israeli army declared the beginning of a widespread attack across the Gaza Strip in response to fire opened at Israeli soldiers in the eastern Gaza Strip earlier.

Four Palestinians were killed earlier Friday, including three al-Qassam fighters, while the fourth was killed during "The Great March of Return" protests.

Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats injuring 1 fisherman.

A Ma'an reporter said that Israeli forces also opened fire at the fishermen forcing them to head back to shore.

Tensions increased across all districts of the Gaza Strip in fear of possible airstrikes by Israel.

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Friday evening of Israel's current escalation policy at the borders of the Gaza Strip, demanding the international community to intervene.

The Presidency said in a statement that Abbas started calls with regional and international sides to prevent escalation of the situation.

Spokesperson of the Israeli army said Israeli forces continue working against a "group of targets" in the Gaza Strip; he held the Hamas movement entirely responsible for the consequences of its actions.

The spokespersons said addressing Hamas: "do not try us."

The Hebrew-language official Israeli TV reported that "it would be different if Hamas responds with shells or rockets."

Israel also sealed off the Zikim beach near the Gaza Strip and ordered Israelis in the area to remain close to shelters.

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