Israeli forces kill two teenage Palestinians, wound scores in Gaza protests

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Militants in Gaza have fired more than 65 projectiles since early Saturday toward Israel, prompting a series of raids against targets in Gaza by Israeli fighter jets, Israel Defense Forces said.

The Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza have exchanged mortar and rocket fire intermittently since May amid weekly Palestinians demonstrations at the border fence that have often been violent. The groups said Egyptian mediation efforts had succeeded in brokering a truce ending an intense daylong round of violence, the Associated Press reported.

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said the military had warned people before the attack to leave the area. He hopes to replace Mr. Netanyahu as prime minister in the future.

The rare strike in the heart of Gaza City blew out windows at a nearby mosque, an art gallery, government offices, a tech start-up company and dozens of houses, leaving light fixtures and wiring dangling.

Israel said some 100 rockets were launched from Gaza at southern Israel.

Relatives of Palestinian Othman Helles, 15, who was killed at the Israel-Gaza border, react in Gaza City July 13, 2018.

"There are three factors occurring that we view seriously and can not allow to continue", he said, adding that this was the largest daytime Israeli strike on Gaza since the 2014 Gaza War.

He said the escalation was the result of the sustained Hamas rocket attacks, its fomenting of violence along the border and its campaign of launching incendiary kites and balloons that have devastated Israeli farmlands and nature reserves.

The Gaza health ministry said a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old died after an Israeli warplane struck an empty building west of Gaza city.

"We were sitting in the living room and all of a sudden, the aquarium exploded and there was smoke everywhere and glass flew everywhere", said Aharon Buchris, who was wounded along with his wife and two teenage daughters, as he awaited surgery in hospital. It said paramedics in the southern city of Sderot were treating a 52-year-old man with a chest wound, a 17-year-old girl with a face wound and a 20-year-old woman with injuries to her limbs.

Tensions have been building between Hamas and Israel for months over mass protests and clashes along the border fence. Later the military said an Israeli officer was moderately wounded by a grenade thrown at him. Two Palestinian teenagers were killed and three Israelis were wounded.

The IDF has sought to avoid an escalation of hostilities on the southern front despite the attacks, but according to the Haaretz daily, the political pressure to act has been building as the economic and psychological harm caused by the fires takes its toll.

There have been no serious Israeli casualties during the so-called "Great March of Return" but big tracts of Israeli land have been ravaged by fires set by incendiary kites or helium balloons flown in from Gaza.