Two hundred missiles and mortars were fired into Israel from Gaza on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Nine Israelis were injured after six missiles hit the Israeli city of Sderot. Two hit residential homes and one hit a factory. Another missile hit a house in the Hof Asheklon regional council area..
Reports stated that nine residents were taken to hospital; one, a foreign worker from Thailand, remains in severe condition and thirteen others were treated for shock trauma.
In response, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) bombed more than 140 targets in Gaza including a factory involved in tunnel construction, a sea tunnel, Hamas military training facilities, a Hamas naval commando base, a weapons depot and a Hamas command centre in Khan Yunis. The Hamas run Gaza Health Ministry said three Gazans had been killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes. A 23-year-old pregnant woman, her 16-month-old baby and a 30-year-old man believed to be Ali Alrandur, the son of a senior Hamas military commander.
This latest escalation in fighting between Hamas and Israel occurred after an exchange of fire between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters on Wednesday. Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border were fired at from a Hamas position and in response Israeli tanks returned fire killing two members of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades’ elite al-Nukhba unit and wounding six others.
On Tuesday, Hamas officials appeared confident that a ceasefire could be agreed with Israel within weeks. The UN and Egyptian-brokered agreement is believed to include the permanent opening of the Rafah Crossing, relaxing entry conditions at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, a five year ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the return of bodies of Israelis and captives held by Hamas and a complete end to missile attacks and the launching of firebombs and balloons into Israel.