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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel army strikes Hamas positions in Gaza

Both the PA and Hamas stand opposed to annexation in the West Bank (Getty)

Date of publication: 16 June, 2020

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Israel retaliated by air and tank fire against Hamas positions after rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the army said.

Israel retaliated by air and tank fire Monday against Hamas positions after rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said.

The tensions came after Gaza rulers Hamas called for unity among Palestinians and "resistance" against Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army said that a rocket had been fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip "into Israel", the first such act in more than a month.

"Airplanes targeted Hamas infrastructure" in southern Gaza and "tanks targeted (its) military posts," the army said.

Palestinian security sources confirmed that Hamas targets had been hit.

Read also: Remembering 72 years of the Nakba in the shadow of annexation

Earlier on Monday, senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil told a news conference "we call for the annexation project to be confronted with resistance in all forms".

"We call on our people to transform this hardship into an opportunity to get the Palestinian project back on track," Bardawil said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aims to begin a process of annexing West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley from July 1, as part of a US peace initiative.

Deep divisions remain between Islamist movement Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, but Bardawil called for a "union of the political class".

"It is the duty of each free Palestinian citizen to rise up against this flagrant aggression on our land," he said.

Bardawil called for a meeting between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which includes various other Palestinian groups.

Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, after ousting forces of president Mahmoud Abbas in a near civil war among the Palestinians.

Both the PA and Hamas stand opposed to annexation in the West Bank, which forms part of a controversial peace plan unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump.

The initiative paves the way for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory and without key Palestinian demands such as a capital in east Jerusalem.

Israel's intention to press ahead with annexation has been met with warnings from the United Nations that such a move would likely spark violence.

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