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Israel, Palestinians exchange first gunfire in months amid meeting of top officials

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

An exchange of fire on the Gaza frontier left one Israeli and three Palestinians wounded amid talks between the two nations to improve tensions in the occupied West Bank. 

The Associate Press reported that Israeli military forces said that one of their citizens was wounded by gunfire from Gaza, and they responded with fire from tanks at Hamas military positions. 

The Gaza Health Ministry confirmed that three Palestinians were wounded, but they did not offer comment on whether the people were civilians or fighters. 

The back-and-forth marks the first exchange of gunfire in months following an outbreak of violence in the region that lasted 11 days in May. 

News of the fighting comes shortly after a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Israeli official’s home on Tuesday. The meeting marked the first time that the Palestinian president met with an Israeli official outside his country since 2010, according to the AP. 

Following the meeting, representatives for Gantz confirmed that the two agreed on the transfer of tax payments to the Palestinian Authority.

These tax payments, normally collected by the Israeli government, have been withheld. The payments have previously been given to Palestinians by their government to families who have lost members to violence in the conflict. However, Israel withheld the payments, claiming that they were used to fund terrorism, the wire service reported. 

They also agreed to other “confidence-building” measures, such as authorizing permits for Palestinian merchants and approving residency status for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the AP. 

Tags Benny Gantz Conflict Gaza gunfire Hamas Israel Jerusalem Mahmoud Abbas Naftali Bennett Palestine peace talks skirmish tensions West Bank

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