Palestine conflict: Deadly airstrikes carried out after 150 rockets fired from Gaza

Palestine conflict: Deadly airstrikes carried out after 150 rockets fired from Gaza

A Hamas militant was also killed in one of the strikes, while at least 12 people in Gaza were reportedly injured, health officials said.

Overnight and during the early morning hours, Gaza-based terrorists fired at least 200 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel.

The IDF Spokesperson's unit announced that Israel struck several underground targets belonging to Hamas following continued rocket fire towards southern Israel.

Gaza health ministry said two of the victims were a pregnant Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old child, another victim was a Palestinian man.

Air raid sirens signaling incoming rocket fire continued in southern Israel on Thursday morning, raising the likelihood of further Israeli reprisals.

The incident occurred while a group of senior Hamas leaders from overseas were visiting Gaza to discuss the ceases-fire efforts with local leaders.

"As of now, approximately 70 rocket launches were identified from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory".

This was the first attack directed against the city since the 2014 war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.

Sirens wailed in southern Israel, warning of incoming rockets from Gaza, and Israeli media reported six people were wounded by shrapnel in the border town of Sderot.

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In a written statement, the Ezzeddin Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attacks. Israeli television broadcast images of a house and cars damaged by the rockets in Sderot.

"The escalation of the barbaric shelling of Gaza and the deliberate targeting of civilians [by Israel] is premeditated and the [Israeli] occupation will suffer the repercussions and pay a higher price for its crimes", he said, according to the news service.

Israel has not commented on the reported casualties in Gaza yet.

The U.N., he said, has engaged with Egypt in an "unprecedented effort" to avoid serious conflict, but warned "the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".

The gathering had raised hopes a deal for a lasting truce with Israel, with the backing of Egypt and the United Nations.

"The Hamas terrorist organization continues to carry out acts of terror against Israeli citizens and the defense infrastructures that protect them, violates Israeli sovereignty and endangers the citizens of Israel and the security forces", the IDF statement read.

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces - most during weekly protests at which thousands of Palestinians have expressed their support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

Tension along the Israel-Gaza border has escalated since late March, when Hamas launched what would become regular mass protests along Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza.

Israel says it has been defending its sovereign border against infiltration attempts by Hamas.

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