IDF says no escalation ahead after striking Hamas targets in Gaza Strip

Palestinian unity deal in doubt as key deadline nears

The attacks follow a mortar shelling of an Israeli outpost, which the IDF said was carried out by Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli army on Tuesday bombed a number of targets in the blockaded Gaza strip after rockets were fired from the Palestinian territory, according to the Israeli army.

Following the tunnel demolition, Islamic Jihad vowed to retaliate, but Thursday's action was the first significant reaction by militants that the Israeli military ascribed to the group. Witnesses in the southern Gaza Strip said two Islamic Jihad posts was hit there. Four of these positions were in northern Gaza and the other two were in northeastern Gaza.

"We view the Hamas terror organization as responsible for the events in the Gaza Strip", the Israeli army said in a statement.

They added that the air force also fired four missiles into an area, south of Gaza city, wounding three Palestinians, before they were rushed to the Shifa Medical, center.

Also Wednesday, in another sign of tension ahead of the deadline, PA employees were prevented by union delegates close to Hamas from returning to work at a number of ministries in the Gaza Strip.

Sharp disagreements remained between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah, based in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas, particularly over the fate of public employees in Gaza and security control of the enclave.

In response to the mortar fire, Israeli tanks and aircraft fired on Hamas positions.

In late October, the IDF blew up a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. A total of 67 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians were killed in the conflict, while 2,251 Palestinians died, according to the United Nations.

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