Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reached a deal with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas on Monday to form a unity government the Palestinians hope will end their international isolation and revive aid. But the Hamas Islamist group said it will never recognise Israel, raising immediate questions over whether a unity coalition will satisfy Western demands for lifting sanctions.
Israeli aircraft targeted the Palestinian Economy Ministry and the house of a Hamas militant in Gaza on Saturday, part of an offensive to free a captured soldier and prevent the functioning of the Hamas-led government. Doctors said one person, later identified as a Hamas militant, was killed in the strike on the house and eight people were wounded, included a baby and a child.
Israel bombed the offices of Hamas lawmakers, destroyed a bridge and fired a tank shell that killed one Palestinian on Friday as part of a Gaza Strip offensive aimed at forcing militants to release a captured soldier. Israeli forces withdrew overnight from central Gaza after two days of fighting, and an army statement said the troops had ''currently completed their activities in the area''.
Israel targeted Hamas's top commanders in a Gaza air strike on Wednesday that killed six Palestinians and reduced to rubble a three-storey building where the militants were believed to be meeting. The Israeli military said the attack wounded Mohammad Deif, leader of the governing Hamas movement's armed wing and Israel's most wanted man