3 dead, 11 injured in rocket launches, airstrikes in Israel and Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting at the Knesset

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting at the Knesset

"The Hamas terrorist organization continues to carry out acts of terror against Israeli citizens and the defense infrastructures that protect them, violates Israeli sovereignty and endangers the citizens of Israel and the security forces", the IDF statement read.

What outraged the Israeli side is the BBC's "deliberate lying", while not mentioning the fact that the Israeli bombing was triggered by the rockets fired from Gaza toward southern Israel as the Israeli media reported, despite Hamas' denial.

The military said that it identified 36 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel and that the Iron Dome defense system intercepted several of them.

A top Hamas official told The Associated Press that the group waited for the delegation to leave Gaza before responding with rocket fire late Wednesday.

At least three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old child, were killed by Israeli air attacks and artillery shelling on the besieged Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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

An explosion rocks Gaza following an Israeli air strike on August 8, 2018.

Injuries were also reported on both sides.

The rocket fire came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.

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As alert sirens continued to go off in southern Israel, Hamas issued a statement saying "We are delivering on our promise".

Wednesday's exchange came just a day after two members of the Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas movement were killed by Israeli fire.

Smoke plumes could be seen rising from Gaza City Wednesday evening.

One Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper during the same period, while incendiary devices attached to balloons and kites launched by Palestinians have sparked hundreds of fires in southern Israel, burning some 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of forest and farmland.

"This is the only barrier of its kind in the world, which will in effect block the possibility of infiltration of Israel from Gaza via the sea", Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated at the end of May.

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

The escalation has taken place against a backdrop of indirect talks in Cairo on a long-term ceasefire plan.

"We can say that actions led by the United Nations and Egypt are in advanced stages and we hope it could yield some good from them", he said. "If the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".

It stated that the two fighters were part of a military training in "Asqalan" center, one of its training locations in northern Gaza, and that many Palestinians, including political leaders of Hamas, were in attendance.

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