The Israeli military said early Thursday morning that it struck more than 140 targets in Gaza in retaliation to a massive barrage of rockets that was fired at Israel overnight.
A baby and her pregnant mother were among three Palestinians killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza overnight on Wednesday, Palestinian officials said.
Enas Khammash, 23, and her 18-month-old daughter, Bayan, were killed in an airstrike on central Gaza, the health ministry in the strip said, while her husband was injured.
The ministry said Enas was also pregnant.
The Israeli army did not immediately comment on the incident, but said it had struck around 100 “military targets” belonging to Hamas on the strip.
“The Israeli strike was conducted in response to the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory over the course of the evening and night,” it said in a statement.
Palestinian Hamas have fired about 150 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel through the last 12 hours, causing several injuries and property damages.
At least 25 rockets headed for developed areas were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system, according to Israeli defence forces.
It said the targets “included manufacturing facilities, training complexes and advanced weapons and capability sites” belonging to Hamas.
Smoke plumes could be seen rising from Gaza City on Wednesday evening.
Hamas fighter ِAli Ghandour was killed in one strike, with at least 12 others injured, the health ministry in Gaza said. The fighter is the son of a senior Hamas leader.
A statement from the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the rockets.
The rocket fire came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.
Hamas warned Israel – with which it has fought three wars since 2008 – it would pay for the attack.
Sirens were sounded in several occupied areas close to the border with Gaza.
One Israeli was lightly wounded by shrapnel while several others were treated for shock in Sderot, the United Hatzalah medical service said.
Israeli television broadcast images of a house and cars reportedly damaged by the rockets in Sderot.
Another round of conflict
The United Nations condemned the rocket fire.
“I am deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel ” UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement.
He called on all sides to step “back from the brink”.
Clashes along the Gaza border since the end of March have seen at least 165 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire.
The majority were killed during violent protests, but others have died in airstrikes or tank fire.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.
The last war in 2014 ended with a tense ceasefire and analysts say another round of conflict remains likely.
Source: Gulf News