Israeli army strikes Gaza after alleged rocket fire

Palestinian unity deal in doubt as key deadline nears

Palestinians on Thursday fired some 15 mortar shells at an IDF position situated on the border with Gaza, prompting the IDF to bomb terror targets inside Gaza.

Rival Palestinian factions agreed on Wednesday to postpone the handover of control over Gaza from Hamas to Fatah, less than 48 hours before a deadline as part of an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal.

No Israelis were injured in the attack.

The mortars were fired exactly a month after Israel blew up an attack tunnel that led from Gaza into Israeli in which 14 militants were killed.

"The attack was carried out in response to high-trajectory fire at an Israel Defense Forces post at the northern end of Gaza", the army said in a statement. Later on Thursday evening, the army said it also had struck two "terror infrastructure targets". However, The Israeli military later said the sirens were a false alarm.

Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip have fought three wars since 2008. Most of the dead were members of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad, which threatened retaliation.

The Israeli army claimed that fighters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, fired 10 to 12 mortar shells into an army base, close to the border with the Gaza Strip, and that the army "retaliated to the mortar fire".

Daud Shehab, the leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, said the "Zionist aggression" was an attempt to distract from the killing of a Palestinian man in the West Bank by settlers earlier in the day. "The occupation bears responsibility", he said.

Israeli forces have maintained regular incursions into the Gaza Strip along both the land and seaside borders.

Israel also is building an underground barrier to prevent tunnels from crossing into Israel.

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