United Nations appeals for calm as hostilities in Israel, Gaza threaten ceasefire efforts

United Nations appeals for calm as hostilities in Israel, Gaza threaten ceasefire efforts

United Nations appeals for calm as hostilities in Israel, Gaza threaten ceasefire efforts

Injured person is taken to ambulance after a missile from Gaza Strip hit in the town of Sderot, Israel, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2018.

Three Israelis were also injured from the strikes, none of which are believed to be serious.

In retaliation, Israeli jet fighters attacked more than 140 strategic targets in the Gaza strip where the Palestinian authorities reported that three people were killed. Reports from Gaza stated that the family's home was adjacent to a Hamas target that Israeli forces attacked.

Residents of Israeli communities near the Gaza border were instructed on Wednesday night to remain near protected spaces.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

The conflagration came as Egypt and UN-led efforts had been underway to reach a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas to bring to an end months of violence along the border and ease tensions in the impoverished Palestinian enclave.

Those killed in the Gaza Strip included Enas Khammash, 23, and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

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

Jewish community representatives complained to the broadcaster after an initial headline read "Israeli air strikes 'kill woman and toddler'".

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The majority of the rockets hit open areas while four were intercepted, it said.

It said Israel was targeted with around 150 rockets from late Wednesday into Thursday.

The strikes came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas, which rules Gaza, were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.

"Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reassured the mayor of Sderot and the heads of the regional councils in the vicinity of the Gaza border that "we will do what needs to be done" to restore calm to region".

The attacks come as the United Nations and Egypt try to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas for a lasting truce.

Mladenov warned "if the current escalation, however, is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people". "We are closing in on operation in Gaza", the senior IDF official told Israeli media outlets, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Both the United Nations and Egypt have not publicly discussed their plans for a renewed Gaza ceasefire, but have said it would bring economic relief to Gaza's two million residents experiencing shortages under crippling blockades.

Clashes along the Gaza border since the end of March have seen at least 160 Palestinians killed in Israeli firing. The IDF later suggested the incident was a misunderstanding, as the tank returned fire in response to the shots fired as part of a ceremony of the al-Qassam Brigades, which were not deliberately aimed at Israeli soldiers, Haaretz reported. But it has come under heavy worldwide criticism for its frequent use of force against unarmed protesters.

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