Israel-Gaza border falls quiet after botched Israeli operation that left 8 dead

* Seven Palestinian militants and an Israeli officer killed

* Flare-up comes amid international ceasefire push

* Israeli special forces carried out Gaza raid

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The Israel-Gaza border fell quiet on Monday after a botched Israeli undercover operation in the Gaza Strip led to fighting that killed a Hamas commander, six other Palestinian militants and an Israeli colonel.

Palestinians fired 17 rockets into southern Israel late on Sunday in response to the incursion and air strikes, which Hamas, the dominant armed group in Gaza, said were intended to cover the retreat of a car used by the Israeli troops.

There were no reports of injuries or damage in Israel, but the military said a lieutenant-colonel, identified only as "M," had been killed in the raid and another officer wounded.

Hamas said the Israeli actions dealt a blow to Egyptian, Qatari and U.N. efforts to broker a long-term ceasefire between the Palestinian group and Israel and ease an Israeli blockade that has deepened economic hardship in Gaza.

But neither side appeared eager to pursue broader conflict.

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Dozens dead at protest along Gaza-Israel fence
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Dozens dead at protest along Gaza-Israel fence
Palestinian demonstrators run for cover from Israeli fire and tear gas during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinian demonstrators run for cover during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinian demonstrators gather at the Israel-Gaza border during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, east of Gaza City May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
People watch a burning field, on the Israeli side of the border fence between Israel and Gaza near kibbutz Mefalsim, Israel, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
An Israeli police officer uses binoculars as he sits on a tree, as other police personnel stand close to the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip, Israel, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
A Palestinian demonstrator with a slingshot looks on during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Palestinian demonstrator shouts during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinian demonstrators carry tires during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
A wounded Palestinian is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinians run for cover from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians shout slogans against the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem, as they protest near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency services and Palestinians carry a wounded protestor during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - MAY 14: Palestinians set tires on fire in response to Israel's intervention during a protest, organized to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948, and against United States' plans to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, near Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis, Gaza on May 14, 2018. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Smoke billows from the Israeli side after a kite loaded with a molotov cocktail crossed the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Palestinian men carry an innjured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians readied for protests over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A Palestinian man assists a wounded protestor during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians run for cover from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
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Hamas received $15 million in Qatari-donated cash via Israel on Friday to pay for civil servants' salaries and fuel to address Gaza's energy crisis.

No new rocket launches were reported on Monday morning.

Violence has flared regularly along the Israel-Gaza border since Palestinians began protests there on March 30 to demand rights to land lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its creation.

Israeli gunfire has killed more than 220 Palestinians since the start of the demonstrations, which have included breaches of Israel's border fence.

Hamas said that during Sunday's fighting, assailants in a passing vehicle opened fire on a group of its armed men, killing one of its local commanders, Nour Baraka.

A pursuit ensued and witnesses said Israeli aircraft fired more than 40 missiles into the area. Palestinian officials said that in addition to Baraka, five other Hamas men and a member of the Popular Resistance Committees were killed.

In an apparent attempt to defuse tensions, Israel's chief military spokesman said the special forces had not been dispatched to assassinate Hamas commanders, a tactic that led to wider conflict in the past and which has largely been abandoned.

The spokesman, Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis, told Army Radio that covert missions were mounted frequently, comments that suggested the Israeli force may have been gathering intelligence.

"During the operation, it found itself in a very complex situation, faced by enemy forces. The (Israeli) force, including Lieutenant-Colonel M., kept its cool, returned fire and evacuated itself together with the (help of the) air force back into Israel," Manelis said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris, where he attended World War One commemorations with other world leaders. He returned home early on Monday.

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