Thirty killed as violence between Israel and Gaza escalates
Israel and Gaza militants traded heavy fire Thursday, the third day of the worst escalation of violence in months that has killed 29 people in the blockaded Palestinian enclave and one in Israel.
Air strikes by the Israeli army since Tuesday have killed fighters as well as civilians, including several children, said officials in the crowded coastal territory.
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip killed one person in the central Israeli city of Rehovot and injured at least two others, Israeli police said. Three others sustained shrapnel injuries elsewhere in Israel.
Cairo mediated in efforts toward a truce between Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group, while the European Union called for an immediate ceasefire.
"We urge an immediate comprehensive ceasefire which will end Israeli military operations in Gaza and current rocket firing against Israel, which is unacceptable," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
The United States stopped short of a clear call for a truce, but State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said the casualties are "tragic and heartbreaking".
Washington is calling on all sides "to take prudent steps to ensure the loss of civilian life is prevented and that steps are taken to ensure that violence is reduced", he added.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said "the bloodletting must end now", while the UN warned of "a negative impact on an already difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza".
The Israeli army said it had fired at 191 targets across Gaza on Thursday.
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