Israel hits Gaza after Palestinian rockets target Israel

Palestinian mourners carry the body of a Hamas member killed by Israeli fire during his funeral in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip

Palestinian health officials said on Wednesday that two of the victims were a pregnant woman and her 18-month old child as the Israeli army claimed it bombed Hamas military targets in the enclave in response to rocket fires.

Smoke plumes rising following an Israeli air strike on Gaza City tonight.

Under the agreement's terms, according to the same Hamas official, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip would be opened on a permanent basis, and Israeli restrictions on the Kerem Shalom border crossing would also be eased "dramatically".

Sirens were sounded in several Israeli areas close to the border with Gaza, warning residents to seek immediate shelter, the Israeli army said.

It said the Palestinian "resistance" had fired a large number of rockets at "enemy positions in the Gaza envelope".

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the violence broke out after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza on Wednesday.

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

Following the strike, Hamas' Izzedine Al-Qassam Brigades announced that two of its members were killed in the strike, naming them as Ahmad Margan and Abdel Hafex Al-Silawi, both 23-years-old and from the Jabalia refugee camp.

Fireball near Bologna airport after road crash explosion
They wrote: "tanker explosion: extinguished the flames, in progress the cooling operations". Bologna is in northern Italy , and is located some 374 kilometres from Rome , the capital.

Two homes in Sderot were also reportedly hit by the shrapnel and several cars were damaged.

The strikes came after at least two of dozens of rockets launched from the coastal enclave hit the Israeli town of Sderot, near Gaza's northern border, police and the army said.

Israel said it struck a Hamas post in retaliation.

Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, in a news release called Israel's restriction of fuel imports "a risky practice, with grave consequences on the rights of people in Gaza".

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces - most during weekly protests at which thousands of Palestinians have expressed their support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

United Nations and Egyptian-led efforts are under way to mediate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas that would end a four-month surge of violence along the Israel-Gaza border.

Israel halted the supply of petroleum and natural gas to Gaza last week in response to incendiary kites and balloons launched from Gaza into southern Israel. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

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