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Israel-Gaza Border Calm After Clashes Leave 8 Dead


Israeli soldiers stand near the southern Israel-Gaza border, Nov. 12, 2018. Calm returned to the border after an Israeli special forces operation led to clashes that left eight people dead.

Calm returned Monday to the Israel-Gaza border after an Israeli special forces operation led to clashes that left eight people dead and brought retaliatory nighttime rocket fire.

The Israeli military gave few details about its mission in the Gaza Strip but said it was "not intended to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security."

Israel said one military officer was killed and another was wounded in the fighting.

Palestinian officials reported seven people killed, including a local Hamas commander identified as Nour Baraka.

Late Sunday, Israel said militants in Gaza fired 17 rockets toward Israeli territory, but that they caused no injuries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris to return home Monday after the clashes.

Palestinians gather at a hospital morgue in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Nov. 11, 2018.
Palestinians gather at a hospital morgue in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Nov. 11, 2018.

The latest fighting came as Netanyahu defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer $15 million in aid to Gaza as part of his effort to bring calm to the Hamas-controlled region.

"I'm doing what I can, in coordination with the security establishment, to return quiet to the southern communities, but also to prevent a humanitarian crisis," Netanyahu said. "I think we're acting in a responsible and wise way."

In exchange, Hamas agreed to scale back the protests along the border with Israel. Israel has accused Hamas of using the noisy protests as a cover for militants to sneak into Israel.

Netanyahu's chief political rival, far-right education minister Naftali Bennett, said allowing the payments from Qatar was like giving criminals "protection money."