Israeli aircraft strike Gaza after Palestinians fire rockets into Israel

A fireball exploding during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City. — AFP

The two were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit their home in the Jaafari area of central Gaza. Egypt said they were keeping the pressure on both sides while the United Nations appealed for calm.

The IDF later confirmed that the shots were not aimed at the soldiers but were part of a Hamas training exercise inside the coastal enclave.

It was a show of force and defiance by Palestinian militants ahead of a meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, where terms for a possible truce were likely to be on the agenda.

The IDF has conducted another series of air strikes against at least 20 alleged Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, after the militant group fired over 150 projectiles into southern Israel. The Israeli air force, meanwhile, pounded targets across Gaza. At least two rockets exploded in open areas near Beersheba. It was the first time a rocket had hit the city since the 2014 war. There is still no intention of conquering the Gaza Strip, taking control of it and destroying the Hamas government, as far as IDF has trained and is prepared to operate within a few days.

A long exposure captures the Israeli iron dome anti missile system in action. Israeli officials said seven people were wounded by rocket or mortar fire on the Israeli side.

Palestinian women inspect the damage to a building following Israeli an air strike on Gaza City on 9 August.

Israel says its blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas although critics say it amounts to collective punishment of two million people.

Ambulance sirens echoed through the night in Gaza, where families huddled at home as powerful explosions shook buildings.

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In nearby Israeli communities, residents were sent scrambling to bomb shelters. Across the border, rocket warning sirens sounded nearly non-stop from sunset on Wednesday in Israeli towns and villages where residents sheltered in bunkers.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials. One person, Ali Algandor, 30, was killed on Wednesday, and overnight a house was struck and a 22-year-old pregnant woman was killed along with her 1-year-old daughter, Palestinian Health Ministry officials said.

Twenty-four of the slain protesters were minors, the ministry has said. The Israeli army has killed at least 158 Palestinians during those protests, and a Gaza sniper killed an Israeli soldier.

"Bayan was sleeping with her mother and father". A auto parked nearby was smashed. "The global community must condemn Hamas and place the responsibility for this unacceptable onslaught on the terrorist organization". He said Hamas is demanding the complete lifting of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, while Israel has offered only to ease the restrictions.

"We are closer to an arrangement than we have been in the past because Hamas's interest in a deal is greater than its wish for escalation", he said.

The U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Processin a statement on Thursday called for calm.

Moreover, the source stressed that coordination with the International Community to provide the necessary support for the establishment of development projects that would interest Palestinians and provide a safe environment that guarantees a continuous development in Palestine.

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