Gaza Rocket Barage Draws Dozens of Israeli Airstrikes

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before delivering a speech at the Israel Museum Tuesday

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the other armed groups that operates in Gaza, said in a statement it had fired the rockets in response to Israel's killing of four Palestinian protesters on Friday near the border.

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus accused Syria and Iran of involvement in the attack.

It said it would halt its fire if Israel did the same.

Israel Defense Forces said 16,000 people participated in the protest at the border, some of who threw stones, fire bombs and grenades at troops. The sudden burst of fighting and bloodshed complicated the mission of Egyptian mediators, who have intensified shuttle diplomacy to achieve calm and prevent a full-blown conflict between the militant Hamas group and Israel.

In response, the Israeli military said it struck about 80 sites across Gaza by early Saturday morning, including a security headquarters building.

More than 30 launches were identified from Gaza beginning late Friday, the Israeli military said, and about a dozen were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past decade, and Israel and Egypt have maintained a stifling blockade on the territory to weaken Hamas.

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The group announced Saturday that it had agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease fire to end the rocket fire, however, following Egyptian contact with its leadership, according to the Gaza-based Safa news site. It blamed Hamas for creating "a terror-enabling atmosphere...near the border fence which led terror groups in the Strip to carry out tonight's attack".

Israel says there is a link between the rockets launched from Gaza and Damascus.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza said that an Israeli warplane destroyed a 4-floor building in Gaza City and leveled it to the ground, adding that the building was empty at the time and no injuries were reported. The internationally recognized Abbas lost control of Gaza in the 2007 takeover. Hamas has demanded a full lifting of the blockade, which has made it increasingly hard for Hamas to govern.

The biggest rocket attacks in months came despite talk of progress towards an Egyptian-brokered deal to end months of often violent protests along the border in return for an easing of Israel's crippling 11-year blockade.

Israel has come under heavy worldwide criticism for what many see as excessive use of force and the large number of unarmed people who have been shot.

According to the information released by Palestinian Health Authorities, the persons killed were; 25-years old Ibrahim Abu Humaisa; 27-year old Mohamed Khaled Mahmoud Abdel Abi; 19-year old Nassar Iyad Abu Tim; 22-year old Ahmed Said Abu Libdeh and 23-year old Ayesh Ghassan Sha'at. Widespread desperation among Gaza's 2 million residents has fueled the participation in the Hamas-orchestrated protests.

The demonstrators were taking part in weekly Friday protests at locations along the border.

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