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More than 700 rockets have been fired from Gaza

Hamas offers Israel a conditional ceasefire
After firing hundreds of rockets into Israel, the terrorist group appears to be offering the chance of a ceasefire. The attacks come at a delicate time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hamas appeared to offer a conditional ceasefire with Israel on Sunday after escalating hostilities to their highest point since 2014.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement the terrorist group was “not interested in a new war.” He said the group was ready to “return to the state of calm” if Israel stopped its attacks “and immediately starts implementing understandings about a dignified life.”
More than 700 rockets have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel, prompting a heavy response. Four civilians in Israel were killed by the rockets, the first since the seven-week Gaza war in 2014, and 23 people — at least half civilians — have keen killed by Israeli retaliatory strikes in Gaza. Despite Haniyeh’s offer of a possible ceasefire, warning sirens continued to sound in Israeli cities into the night. Israeli officials have not confirmed whether a truce has been reached, but the military said that protective restrictions in place on residents of southern Israel since the fighting began were being lifted.
Dangerous balance
Hamas, an Islamic militant group entirely opposed to the existence of Israel, seized power from the Western-backed Palestinian forces in 2007 and has since fought several wars with Israel. Previous rocket attacks have often resulted in Egyptian-mediated agreements to reduce the intensity of the 10-year blockade that has crippled the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and its allies Islamic Jihad initiated the latest attacks by claiming Israel had failed to deliver on its promises to loosen the blockade. It also coincided with a moment of weakness for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, deep in post-election coalition negotiations with his hard-line political partners. But Hamas are also in a tricky spot. A year of heavy protests at the Israeli border have yielded no benefits, and the residents of Gaza have been protesting over dire living conditions. It is keen to prove itself as an effective resistance force, but its residents appear to have little appetite for the seemingly inevitable destruction if Hamas escalates things too far.
Netanyahu spent most of the day with his military and government advisors, ordering his troops to continue the attacks.
International pressure
International pressure has stepped up on Hamas to end the latest escalation.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for a halt to “indiscriminate rocket attacks” from Gaza and expressed support for Egyptian and United Nations mediation efforts.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Hamas’ attacks and urged all parties to “exercise maximum restraint.” A UN envoy said it was working with Egypt to try to end hostilities.
Meanwhile, the White House offered its full support of Netanyahu’s response.
US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens…. To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace – it can happen!”

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