TEL AVIV-Israel's military said militants from Gaza fired at least 180 rockets and mortars into Israel, prompting it to launch a wave of overnight airstrikes and dimming the prospects of a long-term truce.
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.
Israel and Hamas have reached a ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt Thursday night that went into effect at 10:45pm, Al Jazeera reported. Israel deployed its Iron Dome system and intercepted 25 launches, though several civilians were injured by shrapnel.
The Israeli army said on Thursday morning that it had pounded more than 140 targets in Gaza belonging to the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement.
In response, Israel responded with tank fire, which provoked a barrage of rocket fire into Israel and further airstrikes in Gaza.More news: Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois tells Maurizio Sarri he wants to leave
More than 100 rockets have been fired into Israel since yesterday from the Gaza strip.
The strikes came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas, which rules Gaza, were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.
The Palestinian government has issued a statement calling for immediate worldwide intervention to stop Israel's aggression against the blockaded enclave.
Israeli television broadcast images of damage to homes and cars in the town of Sderot.
The Gaza Strip has been under an inhumane Israeli siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.More news: Iran's Oil Exports Slip for Third Consecutive Month over United States santionsNaija247news
"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", UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which this year coincided with the U.S. embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
On Thursday, hours before the Palestinian official announced that the violence had ended, a senior Israeli military official said that the army was "nearing war with Gaza" and would evacuate Israelis living in communities adjacent to the border if necessary.
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". The protests have been aimed in part at trying to break the blockade.
Tension along the Israel-Gaza border has escalated since late March, when Hamas launched what would become regular mass protests along Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza.More news: People Killed in Santa Ana Plane Crash Identified
Almost 160 Palestinians have been killed and some 17,500 others wounded in the fresh wave of violence, according to the latest figures released by the Palestinian Health Ministry. One Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this period. Our strong commitment to the State of Israel's right to defend its borders and civilians is uncompromising.
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