TRT World's Mohammad Mansour reports from Gaza.
But the continued outbursts of fire have jeopardized those ceasefire efforts.
The spokesperson of the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qadra, confirmed that among the three killed Palestinians was a 23-year-old pregnant mother along with her 18-month-old toddler. The Palestinian news agency WAFA cited health officials as confirming that a dozen other Palestinians were wounded in the airstrikes.
The UN has warned that Gaza would be "unlivable" by 2020 if Israel's decade-old blockade of the Strip continues. In response, Israel responded with tank fire. Hamas said two of its fighters were killed.
In another round of escalation, Israel responded to rocket fire by striking what it said were Hamas militant targets in Gaza.
While the health ministry said all three Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes, local sources have indicated that the Khamashes may have been killed by a misfired Palestinian rocket.
Israel and militants in Gaza have exchanged frequent fire in recent months.
The IAF also struck a vehicle in the northern Gaza Strip from which they claim had been used to launch rockets.
On Wednesday, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov condemned the Hamas rocket fire and called for both sides to step away from the brink. Red Alert sirens continued to sound in the South throughout the night, with the latest salvo fired at 05:45 am Thursday morning.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman met with senior officials of the security establishment at the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Tel Aviv to assess the situation.
Israel has played down prospects for a comprehensive ceasefire, speaking in terms of a more limited quid-pro-quo.
The video was also shared by at least one account in Gaza as proof that Hamas should not be messed with and will hit back if attacked.
The last four months have seen an upsurge in violence along the Gaza-Israel border.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were mobilizing additional troops and aerial defense batteries after Hamas began shooting projectiles at Israeli civilians starting at 7:37PM on Wednesday evening and launched them consistently until early Thursday morning.
Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special envoy who is involved in Egyptian efforts to broker a truce, said in a statement on Thursday that he's "deeply alarmed" by "multiple rockets fired toward communities in southern Israel" the day before. "What is required is for calm to be restored along the border between us and the Zionist enemy".
"We have had another night of escalation and we are not seeing the end", he said.
Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East conflict who has been seeking to negotiate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, said he was "deeply alarmed" and called on all sides to "step back from the brink". Israel has imposed a crippling 11-year blockade on the Gaza Strip in response, during which time it has waged three wars in Gaza, most recently in 2014.
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