Netanyahu Cuts Short Paris Trip Amid Gaza Violence

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cutting short his visit to Paris to return home after an outbreak of violence in Gaza.

It is unclear what set off the fighting which left six Palestinians and an Israeli soldier dead.

Hamas claims Israel launched an undercover operation into Gaza to hunt down a Hamas commander. It says Israel fired airstrikes as cover to let the Israelis get away.

Israel did not provide any details on what it calls “special forces operational activity.”

Several rockets were also fired into Israel from Gaza.

The latest fighting comes 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 is like giving criminals “protection money.”

Source: Voice of America