A pregnant Palestinian mother and her one-year-old baby were killed in a wave of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip and plummeted into the besieged enclave (19459003) for a month-long doldrums.
The bombing on Saturday was after Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, and the Islamic Jihad movement has fired more than 200 missiles at towns and villages in southern Israel.
At least three Palestinians, including the mother, the child, and a 22-year-old man, Emad Naseer, were killed in the air raids, said in Gaza, and 13 more were wounded.
Shrapnel from Gaza rockets wounded two Israelis; one of them was an 80-year-old woman.
The escalation began Friday when an Islamic Jihad sniper shot at Israeli troops across the border and injured two of them, the Israeli military said. In an Israeli air strike as a counter-attack two fighters from Hamas were killed.
Two other Palestinians protesting near the border were also killed by Israeli forces.
|Relatives of 22-year-old Emad Naseer mourn the Gaza Strip during a funeral [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]|
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad responded with rocket fire on Saturday.
In a statement, the two groups promised a "broader and more painful" reaction when Israel "persecuted its aggression." The Israeli forces retaliated against more than 30 targets of both groups with air raids and tank fires .
& # 39; Dangerous situation & # 39;
Explosions in Gaza City, where bustling streets were filled with shoppers preparing for the holy Muslim Ramadan shook the houses and sent people to run for cover.
Ibtessam Abu Arar, aunt of the 14-month-old infant who died in the Israeli raid, said, "The Israeli plane shot down a rocket near the house and shrapnel, entered the house and hit the poor baby."
Rockets fired from Gaza after Israel killed four Palestinians (2:30)
The child's mother, 37-year-old Falestine Abu Arar, died hours later of her wounds, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. An Israeli military spokeswoman made no immediate comment.
Across the border, the sirens sent the Israelis to emergency shelters as rocket firing overboard and Jonathan Conricus, spokesman for the Israeli military, said Israel was ready to step up its attacks. 19659004] The European Union called for an immediate de-escalation on Saturday and supported the efforts of Egypt and the United Nations to calm the situation.
"The rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel must cease immediately and a de-escalation of this dangerous situation is urgently needed to protect the lives of the civilian population," said Maja Kocijancic, EU spokeswoman.
"Israelis and Palestinians are both right to live in peace, security and dignity," she added in her statement.
The outbreak of fighting that caused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convene secu rity chiefs comes days before the start of Muslim Ramadan and the Israelis celebrate Independence Day.
Israel will also host the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in less than two weeks in Tel Aviv.
|Israeli Air Raids in Gaza Catch More Smoke [Suhaib Salem/Reuters]|
Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reported from Jerusalem, said the recent conflict had sparked a "politically sensitive time for the Israelis".
"Perhaps the calculation that Israel will not incite this military escalation is the extent of a complete conflict due to concern about these events, and this could be the time to try to achieve what it is at the end of the last military escalation in early April had promised, "said Fawcett.
Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.
Following heavy fighting in late March, Israel agreed to ease the blockade in exchange for a stop by R ocket fire. These included the extension of a fishing zone off the coast of Gaza, the increase in imports to Gaza and the permission of the Gulf State of Qatar to provide assistance to the cash area.
But Israel reduced the fishing zone this week in response to rocket fire and closure of the border crossings entirely on Saturday after locking from the enclave.
Al Jazeera Fawcett said Israel has not been able to "provide the promised additional funding from Qatar" and "other easing of the Israeli siege has not borne fruit either."
About 2 million Palestinians live in Gaza. whose economy has suffered from blockades and cuts in external aid for years. According to the World Bank, unemployment is 52 percent and poverty is widespread.
Israel says its blockade is necessary to stop arms reaching Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since the group took control of Gaza in 2007.
The Hamas said on Thursday that its Gaza chief Yeyha Sinwar had traveled to Cairo to hold talks about efforts to keep calm at the border and alleviate the plight of the enclave.
Mukhaimer Abu Sadda, Professor At the Al-Azhar University in the Gaza Strip, the Political Scientist said he had the task of implementing the agreements with Israel that had been concluded after the March battles.
"It is the Israeli government that has not implemented the latest findings," Sadda told Al Jazeera.