The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched strikes on at least two suspected Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, July 16, hours before Palestinian fighters launched a rocket aimed at southern Israel from the territory. The Israeli strikes targeted areas from where Palestinians had launched incendiary balloons directed at Israel. The Palestinian-launched rocket exploded in Gaza, according to the IDF; no casualties were immediately reported from the Israeli strikes in Gaza.
The exchange comes after an Egypt-brokered ceasefire negotiated between Israel and Hamas - negotiated on the night of Saturday, July 14 (local time) - mostly held on Sunday, July 15. The ceasefire was preceded by an intense period of cross-border fighting between the sides on Saturday which left at least two Palestinians dead and four Israelis wounded. Israel activated an Iron Dome anti-missile defense system near Tel Aviv on Sunday in response to the fighting. Additional clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters is possible over the Israel-Gaza border in the coming weeks.
Israel's July 14 series of airstrikes targeting suspected Hamas personnel and installations was reportedly the largest such salvo since the 2014 Gaza war. Palestinian fighters also fired almost 200 projectiles at Israel from Gaza on July 14.
In general, rocket fire and strikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip have intensified since early December 2017. Hundreds of rockets and mortars have been fired from the Gaza Strip, followed by retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to avoid all protests or other public gatherings due to the high risk of violence and to monitor developments to the situation. Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
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