Reporter on Israel and the Palestinian Territories
5. May at 04:03 [JERUSALEM] – An escalation in the struggle between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip over the weekend also brought with it a growing death on Sunday, with reports that six Palestinians, including a pregnant mother and a baby, Israeli air strikes on the Palestinian enclave killed and an Israeli man killed when more than 450 rockets and projectiles were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.  Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said that due to the army's intelligence, it appeared that the pregnant mother and baby were being killed by Hamas' own missiles rather than by Israel, although he provided no further evidence. The country's Iron Dome defense system had saved countless lives in Israel and intercepted at least 150 of the missiles and projectiles fired by Palestinian militant factions since Saturday morning.
The flare, the hardest in months It was intended to threaten the Egyptian and international attempts to forge a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip.
In Israel, rocket sirens wiggled through Saturday, swapping Israeli civilians overnight – up to 30 miles from Gaza – into bomb shelters. The authorities said a 58-year-old Israeli was killed at his home in the coastal town of Ashkelon. He is the first Israeli to be killed by a rocket fire in the Gaza Strip since Israel and Hamas fought a 50-day war in the summer of 2014.
[After more than 2,100 deaths, the Gaza war ends where it began]
The Israeli military said in a statement that 70 percent of the missiles had fired in the last 24-hours had landed on open land, but some had hit homes and buildings. In Kiryat Gat, a city about 20 miles from Gaza, the Israeli rescue service said an 80-year-old woman had been seriously injured in a rocket attack.
In Gaza, health authorities reported that four men were in their twenties and the 37-year-old pregnant woman and child were killed in Israeli air strikes. There were also reports from Gaza that five residential buildings were destroyed, including one for the Turkish news agency Anadolu.
Israeli officials said air raids had hit more than 100 "terrorist targets" Saturday and overnight, including offices of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest militant faction in Gaza. The army said it also destroyed an attack tunnel that is moving from Gaza to Israeli territory.  Israeli military spokesman Conricus said that militants' homes are legitimate military targets, beating a total of 220 "military targets." He also said that the army was sending a "tank brigade" into the area to prepare for "offensive missions."
On Saturday, there are violent clashes between Hamas and Israel, while the militant group has been trying to impose pressure with rocket fire and fireball balloons. Hamas seeks to ease Israeli trade and movement restrictions in return for a violent break.
U. N. Peace Ambassador Nickolay Mladenov demanded peace on both sides.
"If you continue with the current escalation path, what you have achieved will be quickly reversed and the chances for long-term solutions to the crisis will be dashed," he said in a statement. "This endless cycle of violence must end, and efforts must be accelerated to reach a political solution to the crisis in Gaza."
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Israel would "respond energetically and swiftly to any attack on our people's security."
The Israeli authorities said schools in the southern cities of Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod are closed on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should hold an emergency meeting with his security cabinet on Sunday afternoon.
In a joint statement, militant groups in the Gaza Strip said the rocket fire had responded to the "target and murder" of their militants the day before the aggression is tougher and broader and wider, "they said in a statement.
The Israeli military reported Friday that two soldiers were slightly injured in a firefight along the border with Gaza, in response to which Israel struck the brigades of the Hamas Army, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, down and killed two fighters.
Also on Friday, two Palestinian demonstrators were killed in the weekly demonstrations on the border fence with Israel, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
"This is a response to the Israeli attacks on peaceful civilians yesterday during the 58th Friday of the Great March of Return," said Basem Naim, a member of the Hamas International Relations Office, referring to the weekly protests in the Gaza Strip since last year. "Also on the crew's carry-over policy to lift the siege of Gaza."
[Thousands gather in Gaza to mark anniversary of bloody border protests ]
On the border, Gaza's weekly demonstrations have been held to address the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the daily deteriorating strip and the advancing land, sea and aviation to protest the blockade that Israel has imposed since the 2007 seizure of power by Hamas. Egypt is only sporadically opening its border with Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Abdullatif al-Qanoua said the group would "continue to respond to the crimes of the occupation" and "not let the blood of our people spill".
Musab al-Buraim, spokesman for the Islamic jihad, said in a brief statement that she, too, has devoted herself to the "resistance".
Representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were in Egypt last week to discuss the agreements reached with Israel to ease the tensions. The Egyptians have been trying for months to establish a long-term ceasefire between the two sides to create peace and serenity for 2 million Gazans.
But the riots on Saturday, which disrupt the lives of so many Israeli citizens, could affect Netanyahu's formation a coalition after being re-elected for a fifth term. His last government began to unravel after a similar flare-up with Gaza when Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigned after calling for a harder rapprochement with the missile fire.
[Netanyahu faces pressure for tougher Gaza response]
In November, Liberman, leader of the hawkish Yisrael Beiteinu party, said the agreement with the ceasefire with Hamas was "surrendering to terror." He suggested firmer military action against Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, even if it risked another conflict.
The trip from Netanyahu to Washington to meet with President Trump and speak at the annual AIPAC conference was interrupted after a rocket from Gaza fired at a house in central Israel.
Rocket fire and air raids, similar to Saturday's, take place regularly.
In 2014, a 50-day fatal war between Israel and Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into Israel reaching as far as Tel Aviv and massive Israeli air strikes killing more than 2,000 Palestinians. More than 70 Israelis and a foreigner were killed.
In Israel there was concern that riots could disrupt preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest, an international vocal event taking place in Tel Aviv this month. Candidates from all over Europe are already in Israel to prepare for the event.
Balousha reported from Gaza. Morris reported from Tel Aviv.