Gaza pounded by Israeli air strikes after rocket barrage

Swedish activists sent home after being arrested by Israel

Three Palestinians, including a mother and baby, have been killed and 11 Israelis have been injured in exchanges of rocket fire and airstrikes between Israel and Gaza.

The renewed rocket attacks came amid a period of heightened tensions along the Gaza border, following months of clashes and exchanges of fire.

The Israeli military, apparently referring to the same incident, said it returned fire after soldiers were fired upon from a Hamas post in the northern Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel.

At least two Palestinians were wounded in raids aimed targeting a Hamas base in the southern Gaza Strip, the enclave's health ministry said.

Following May's rocket attacks, Israel and Gaza eventually reached an uneasy ceasefire mediated by Egypt, though rocket launches and airstrike retaliation has continued to plague both sides.

Earlier on Wednesday, before the rocket fire, a Hamas official said these negotiations were in "advanced stages". Six Israelis were reported injured by rockets over the course of the day, with 25 rockets intercepted and most landing harmlessly in empty fields.

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

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said in an overnight statement: "I am deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today's multiple rockets fired towards communities in southern Israel".

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.

TRT World's Mohammad Mansour reports from Gaza.

An Israeli policeman surveys the scene where a rocket exploded in the southern city of Sderot, Israel August 8, 2018.

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

"We are closer to a wide scale operation in Gaza than we've ever been".

Hamas warned Israel it would pay for Tuesday's attack.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special envoy who is involved in Egyptian efforts to broker a truce, said in a statement on Thursday that he's "deeply alarmed" by "multiple rockets fired toward communities in southern Israel" the day before. "If the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force at the protests, but the military said they only opened fire in self-defence or on people trying to infiltrate its territory.

One Israeli soldier had also been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

Gaza's residents have been protesting every week since 30 March at Israel's border fence, which have been violently suppressed.

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