Israel pounds Gaza, killing a pregnant woman and her child

A Military Police car blocks a road leading to Zikim beach after it was closed to visitors due to escalating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel

What outraged the Israeli side is the BBC's "deliberate lying", while not mentioning the fact that the Israeli bombing was triggered by the rockets fired from Gaza toward southern Israel as the Israeli media reported, despite Hamas' denial.

The former prime minister says that he has previously explored ways to remove Hamas from power in Gaza, but his proposal, which apparently included an Israeli reconquest of the Strip, was rejected by the PA and Arab states.

The escalation has taken place against a backdrop of indirect talks in Cairo on a long-term ceasefire plan.

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. "My thoughts are with the families of the wounded and injured, including both the innocent Israelis and Palestinians caught up in this needless escalation by Hamas". Israeli fighters also struck a tunnel on the Mediterranean coast and targeted weapons and rocket manufacturing sites, as well as a military complex serving as a central logistic warehouse, the IDF noted.

Katz, meanwhile, proposed "shifting the full responsibility over the Gaza Strip to the worldwide community, while keeping Israel's security control on the port". He said, "Hamas is moving away from an arrangement to calm things down and is moving near to a war in which it would be hit hard".

Incoming rocket sirens continued to wail throughout southern Israel, including the city of Ashkelon, as projectiles continued to be launched from the Gaza Strip on Thursday as Israeli jets and tanks continued to pound the coastal enclave.

Following May's rocket attacks, Israel and Gaza reached an uneasy cease-fire mediated by Egypt, though rocket launches and airstrike retaliation has continued.




Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket attack and a tweet issued by a spokesman for the militant group, Abdullatif al-Kanoo, was translated by Al Jazeera as saying that the Palestinian resistance "is in self-defense and has a duty to respond to the aggression against our people".

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

A Hamas militant was killed in one strike, with at least 12 others injured, the health ministry in Gaza said.

The majority hit open fields and caused no damage but several landed in Gaza border communities, including the college city of Sderot.

Hamas warned Israel it would pay for Tuesday's attack. One Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this period.

The gathering had raised hopes a deal for a lasting truce with Israel, with the backing of Egypt and the United Nations. "If the current escalation is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said that mounting violence began on Wednesday after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza Strip.

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