Israel strikes Hamas targets after rocket launches

Israel strikes Hamas targets after rocket launches
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Israel struck a number of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Monday in response to renewed rocket attacks by the militant group, marking the third successive day of violence between the two sides.

The Israeli military reported that Hamas launched three rockets into Israel Sunday and early Monday, but at least two of them were intercepted by the country’s rocket defense, according to The Associated Press.

As a result, the Israeli military said it fired rockets at a series of Hamas targets.

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No fatalities were reported on either side, according to the AP.

The exchange of rocket fire Monday morning came just before Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Cairo for Egyptian-mediated truce talks between Israel and Hamas following 11 days of deadly violence in May, the news wire reported.

The Israeli Security Cabinet approved plans for a cease-fire with Hamas in May, putting an end to the missile strikes and rocket fire that left more than 200 people dead, including dozens of Palestinian children. 

The May armistice was negotiated by Egypt.

There have also been reports of stabbings in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, according to the AP.

Tensions are potentially rising in the region because of a prison break that occurred last week, the AP reported. Israeli forces established a manhunt last week after six Palestinian protesters escaped from a high-security facility.

As of Saturday, four of the prisoners had been captured.

Palestinians have been protesting in support of the men, as thousands of Israeli-held inmates are seen as heroes paying a price for a national cause, the AP reported. Almost every family has had a member imprisoned by Israel, the news wire noted.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday said a new method is needed to stop the fighting with Hamas, according to the AP. He discussed an idea of international investment in Gaza’s infrastructure in return for Hamas halting its military buildup and keeping the peace. 

“The policy Israel has pursued up until now hasn’t substantially changed the situation,” Lapid told a security conference, according to the AP. “We need to change direction."

That specific plan —which Lapid said was drawn up in consultation with the U.S. and other nations —  has reportedly been proposed in the past, but never applied because of fighting, distrust and divisions between Israel and Hamas.