A fragile calm was restored around the Gaza Strip last weekend after a series of attacks and counter-attacks between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian groups.
Israel claimed that the Palestinians fired on IDF forces to prevent operations to uncover and destroy Hamas-built tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel.
In recent weeks, in what seems to have been a result of intelligence work and the employment of new, high-tech sensors, Israel has uncovered two tunnels, most likely for use in future attacks.
Hamas has claimed that the Israeli operations were an infringement of their territory and, last week, it ordered snipers and mortar teams to fire at Israeli troops.
In addition, other Palestinian groups, usually reined in by Hamas, launched rockets into Israeli territory. No casualties resulted from any of these attacks and Israel's air force carried out a series of strikes on Hamas targets. IDF tanks and artillery also attacked the sources of fire in Gaza. One Palestinian woman was killed and a number of civilians were wounded.
Hamas may use its tunnels soon if it thinks they are about to be detected
A ceasefire was achieved, through Egyptian mediation, on Saturday. Israeli forces retreated to a 100m buffer zone on the border fence.
Senior IDF officers have warned that Hamas's military commanders, having invested scarce resources in the attack tunnels, may use them soon if they believe Israel is about to detect and destroy them.
The IDF officers added, however, that Gaza's political leadership was not looking for a new conflict with Israel.