Baby, pregnant mother killed as Israel strikes Gaza

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Israeli army spokesman Lieutenan Colonel Jonathan Conricus insisted Israel only targeted Hamas military targets in Gaza.

"We have had another night of escalation and we are not seeing the end", he said. This will have a 6 m-high fence on top and sensors to alert operators of any suspicious activity.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008. "Hamas will lose another strategic ability, in which it invested large sums".

In the hours following the exchange, sirens sounded across southern Israel in communities that surround the Gaza Strip, including Sderot.

Sirens wailed in southern Israel, warning of incoming rockets from Gaza, and Israeli media reported six people were wounded by shrapnel in the border town of Sderot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a trip to Colombia to meet with security officials for cease-fire negotiations.

A senior IDF official asserted Thursday morning that the escalation in the south might lead to a broad campaign in Gaza which would the evacuation of communities along the border. The rockets, of course, are pretty inaccurate, and just getting them into southern Israel seems to be the best Hamas can manage.

Palestinian officials said three people were killed in the Israeli attacks: a member of the Islamist Hamas group that rules Gaza, a pregnant woman, and her 18-month-old child.

Their deaths come as violence continues to flare up between Israel and Gaza's rulers from the Islamic militant Hamas.

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

Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli military responded with air strikes on Wednesday despite talk from both sides of progress toward a possible truce to avert a fourth war in a decade. The ministry said Khammash was also pregnant.

Rocket warning sirens sounded nearly non-stop in the southernIsraeli town of Sderot and other border communities from sunset on Wednesday.

"The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible for everything in and out of the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences for the acts of terror perpetrated against Israeli civilians", the IDF said.

"The grave threats facing the Palestinian cause require [inter-Palestinian] reconciliation and the immediate restoration of national unity by fully empowering the government in the Gaza Strip as called for by the Egypt-brokered agreement", he said.

United Nations envoy Nickolay Mladenov called on both Israel and Hamas to "step back from the brink" and contain the current escalation before it deteriorates with "devastating consequences for all people".

Last week, the Ministry of Health in Gaza issued statistics regarding the number of killed and injured Palestinian protesters during "The Great March of Return" protests since March 30th until the end of July.

"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".