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Israel strikes Gaza in latest cross-border exchange

Since Trump's announcement, 18 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces [AFP]

Date of publication: 2 February, 2018

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Cross-exchanges continue between Israel and Gaza as tensions remain high following Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Israeli forces struck a Hamas post in Gaza early Friday in response to a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave in the latest cross-border exchange.

"An aircraft targeted a Hamas observation post in the Gaza Strip," said an army statement.

The air strike hit north of the territory near Beit Hanoun. There were no reports of casualties, although a few homes were damaged.

Mohammed Abu Jarad, a local resident, told AFP how he and his family had been forced to flee their home after two missiles hit.

The raid came hours after a rocket was fired at Israel from Gaza without causing damage. Such rockets are normally fired by fringe radical groups as opposed to the Palestinian Islamist party.

A series of cross-border exchanges have erupted since President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that the US would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Israel says it holds the Islamist group - Hamas - responsible for all rocket fire, despite an Egyptian-brokered agreement in early October that set 10 December for the transfer of power to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Trump's controversial announcement only worsened the likelihood of a reconciliation happening, and damaged the already fragile peace process.

The area has been largely calm since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, but the week since Trump's Jerusalem embassy move statement has seen violent protests by Palestinians and the most intensive exchange of cross-border fire since the 2014 conflict.

Palestinians have clashed with Israeli troops across the West Bank and along the Gaza border since Trump's announcement, leaving 18 Palestinians dead.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many Arab leaders and others have reacted in anger.  

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Under international law East Jerusalem is considered occupied Palestinian territory.

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