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    Palestinians run for cover as smoke rises following an Israeli air strike on a Hamas post, in the northern Gaza Strip on February 6, 2017

    Israel Denies Hamas Claims of Ceasefire Amid Largest Spike in Tensions in Years

    © AFP 2019 / MOHAMMED ABED
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    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)
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    This latest exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas has been the largest since 2014.

    Previously, Hamas's deputy chief in Gaza Khalil al-Hayya stated that "a number of mediators intervened in the past hours and an agreement was reached to return to a ceasefire in Gaza."

    The reports about the termination of the fire exchange have also started to appear in the Arabian media, such as Al Jazeera.

    However, the information contradicts the statement by Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, who denied ceasefire claims by Hamas.

    "Israel does not want the situation to deteriorate, but those who started the violence must stop it," he said.

    According to the IDF Home Front Command, in last 22 hours, sirens were triggered at least 166 times in southern Israel.

    "If the launches are renewed, the attacks against Hamas will be intensified," the official said, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

    READ MORE: Israeli Air Force Hits Hamas Targets in Gaza Strip — Reports

    Earlier, Tel Aviv's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Danny Danon, on the eve of an emergency meeting of the Security Council in connection with the shelling of Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, called on the Security Council to officially recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.

    A full-scale IDF operation began on Tuesday after missiles were allegedly launched from the Gaza Strip. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman commented the issue, saying the strikes against Gaza are "only the beginning."

    The Israel Defense Forces struck 25 targets in the Gaza Strip Tuesday night, in response to reports of mortars being fired from Gaza, with one hitting a kindergarten.

    The situation on the border escalated on Monday, particularly after an Israeli tank attacked a militant observation post in response to an attempted violation of the border by two Palestinians.

    The violent clashes between Palestinian protestors and IDF on the Gaza border with Israel erupted in March when the Palestinians started their rallies called the Great March of Return. Israel has explained its actions citing security reasons, saying it is defending its borders and blames Hamas for encouraging thousands of Palestinians to break through the border and attack Israelis.

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    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)

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    ceasefire, Hamas, Gaza Strip, Palestine, Israel
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