02:07 GMT27 September 2020
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    Several explosions were reported across the Gaza Strip on Friday local time for the third consecutive night, as multiple Hamas sites were targeted.

    Explosions were reported east of the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza and Khan Younis, as well as in Deir al-Balah. There were also reports of artillery fire and helicopters.

    Artillery strikes were reported in Sufa, east of An Nahda, Sharabul Asal and Fukhari. Three missiles struck defense sites east of Khan Younis, while chopper strikes were reported east of Shujaiya.

    ​According to some reports, a Hamas defense site was also targeted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israeli helicopters are also firing missiles at various targets.

    There were also reports of ambulances rushing towards an area east of Shujaiya, one of the largest neighborhoods in Gaza.

    In a statement released Friday local time, the IDF said: "Fighter jets, fighter helicopters and IDF tanks recently attacked a number of terrorist targets of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. During the attack, a Hamas air defense system, underground infrastructure and observation posts of the Hamas terrorist organization were attacked."

    "The attack was carried out in response to the blowing up of explosive and incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory over the past week. The IDF takes all terrorist activity against Israeli territory very seriously and will continue to act as much as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli citizens," the statement added.

    "The terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences of terrorist acts against Israeli citizens," the statement concluded.

    Israeli airstrikes were launched in Gaza early on Thursday local time in response to incendiary balloons being launched into Israel from Gaza over the past week.

    On Thursday, Israel also announced that it is limiting Gaza's fishing zone after balloon-borne explosives and incendiary devices were launched into Israel, causing at least 24 fires in the Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol regions on Wednesday, according to the Fire and Rescue Service’s southern division, the Times of Israel reported.

    Israel on Thursday also agreed to temporarily halt its annexation of the parts of the West Bank to pursue full diplomatic recognition and relations with the United Arab Emirates. US President Donald Trump called the preliminary peace agreement "historic" during a Thursday news conference. 

    An unnamed senior Israeli official on Thursday afternoon reiterated that while Israel has agreed to hold off its annexation plans, the delay is only temporary.

    “The sovereignty plan is still on the table, and we’re obligated to it,” the official said, according to Israel National News. “The Trump administration has asked us to temporarily delay the declaration in order to first reach the historic peace deal with the United Arab Emirates.”

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