Over 100 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza

  • Over 100 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza

Over 100 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza

Over the past four months, 163 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including at least 120 protesters, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and a local rights group.

Islamic militant group Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since Israel disengaged from the region in 2005.

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

Hamas wants an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade to be lifted, while Israel is demanding an end to the rocket attacks, border protests and the launching of incendiary balloons over the border.

Earlier this week, there had been reports of intensive talks between Israel and Hamas for a long-term ceasefire.

Hamas military wing, Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, identified the victims of Tuesday's Israeli strike as Ahmed Murjan and Abdel-Hafez al-Silawi.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his security Cabinet - which includes Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and senior army commanders - to discuss mounting tensions along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone.

This was the first attack directed against the city since the 2014 war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.

The Israeli military said over 150 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel, and Israel carried out over 140 airstrikes targeting Hamas militant positions.

In Israel, Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon said that it treated 23 injuries overnight from the rocket attacks, the majority from anxiety or orthopedic injuries.

Several rockets fell in the southern Israeli city of Sderot and border-adjacent Eshkol Regional Council, injuring at least 11 people. The rockets that were not intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system fell into Israeli villages surrounding the Gaza border where one person sustained medium to severe injuries and nine others sustained medium to light injuries.

Israel has not commented on the reported casualties in Gaza yet.

Mladenov warned that "if the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".

The attacks come as the United Nations and Egypt try to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas for a lasting truce.

The Israeli military said seven people were wounded in southern Israel.

The demonstrations have been fueled in large part by pervasive despair caused by the blockade that has caused widespread economic hardship and left the coastal territory with crippling fuel shortages and just a few hours of electricity a day.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that mounting violence began on Wednesday after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza.

Gaza's residents have been protesting every week since 30 March at Israel's border fence, which have been violently suppressed. But it has come under heavy global criticism for its frequent use of force against unarmed protesters.