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Deadly flare-up in violence as Israel finds Gaza tunnel

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Deadly flare-up in violence as Israel finds Gaza tunnel


A Palestinian woman has died in Gaza amid the worst flare-up of violence there with Israel since the war in 2014.

Hospital sources say the 54-year-old was killed by Israeli shelling that hit her home east of Khan Younis.

Israel blames the escalation on Palestinian militants firing mortar shells at Israeli forces working to unearth secret tunnels near the border fence. It says this prompted return fire from Israeli tanks.

Israel on Thursday said it discovered a cross-border tunnel built by the Islamist Hamas group, the de facto ruler of Gaza.

Israel’s Shin Bet undercover intelligence agency said a Hamas operative arrested last month had provided useful information about the tunnel networks in the area, although it did not explicitly attribute Thursday’s discovery to his data.

The Israelis mounted a major search operation, using surveillance balloons and other means.

Its aircraft have been bombing targets in the Gaza enclave, amid violence that threatens a truce that has largely held since the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to convene senior ministers on Friday to discuss the situation. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said, after touring the area, that Israel would not be deterred by Hamas’s threats and would continue to search “until all the tunnels are found”.

Hamas has not confirmed responsibility for the shelling.

A senior Hamas official, Khalil al-Hayya, said efforts by Qatar and Egypt were ongoing to try to restore calm but he warned that “Israeli incursions into Gaza would not be tolerated”.

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