Israel and Hamas Clash Again, Threatening Peace Talks

Palestinian mourners carry the body of a Hamas member killed by Israeli fire during his funeral in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the violence broke out after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza on Wednesday.

Israeli planes struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there, while Palestinian terrorists from the territory fired 150 rockets into Israel in a fierce burst of violence. An IDF spokesperson tweeted that roughly 70 missiles were fired, mostly into open areas, of which 11 were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.

Israeli Ynet News said that one Israeli man, aged 23, was injured by shrapnel in his leg, and added that "two pregnant women in addition to a man, 42 years of age, were treated for shock", before being moved to Barzilai Hospital.

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.

Israeli media said the European Union had prepared a plan for transport in the occupied West Bank which included "the establishment of an airport, a port and a railway to link the Gaza Strip with the West Bank".

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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 headline that read: "Israeli airstrikes kill a woman and a baby", reported the continuous Israeli airstrikes on Gaza during Wednesday night in which a pregnant woman was killed with her one year old daughter. At least 12 other people were injured, local news reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a trip to Colombia this week to attend to the Gaza truce talks and was due to convene his decision-making security cabinet on Thursday to discuss the situation.

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

At least two Israelis were hurt by the rockets, rescue services said. In response, Israel responded with tank fire.

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Following May's rocket attacks, Israel and Gaza eventually reached an uneasy ceasefire mediated by Egypt, though rocket launches and airstrike retaliation has continued to plague both sides.

All trains running between the border town of Sderot and the coastal city of Ashkelon were cancelled and the popular Zikim beach was closed.

Israel's defense chief said last month that Gaza's only commercial border crossing, Keren Shalom, would reopen if calm persisted.

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

The gathering had raised hopes a deal for a lasting truce with Israel, with the backing of Egypt and the United Nations.

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Hamas warned Israel it would pay for Tuesday's attack. He said Israel has offered only an easing, but not an end, to the blockade. "If current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people".

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