Gaza conflict: Rocket barrage and Israeli strikes intensify

 
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Media captionRockets were seen in the sky above Ashkelon in Israel

Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip have stepped up their attacks on each other, in one of the worst surges of violence in recent years.

Palestinian militants have fired more than 430 rockets into Israeli territory since Saturday. Israel says most were intercepted but one man was killed.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) say they have struck about 200 targets in Gaza, killing at least two militants.

The flare-up over the weekend comes despite a truce agreed last month.

Egypt and the United Nations have recently been trying to broker a longer-term ceasefire.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Two multi-storey buildings were destroyed by Israeli strikes, Palestinians say

How did the latest round of violence begin?

It began on Friday, during protests in Gaza against the blockade of the area – which Israel says is needed to stop weapons reaching militants.

A Palestinian gunman shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers at the boundary fence. Israel retaliated with an air strike that killed two militants.

The rocket barrage from Gaza began on Saturday morning. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system shot down dozens of the rockets, but a number of homes in Israeli towns and villages were hit.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The rockets have caused damage in southern Israel

An Israeli man died early on Sunday in Ashkelon, 10km (six miles) north of Gaza, after being wounded by shrapnel when a rocket hit his house.

Israel says it carried out more air strikes against sites belonging to the militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Sunday.

Four Palestinians have been killed in the strikes since Saturday, according to Hamas, which controls Gaza.

It says the dead include a woman and her 14-month-old daughter. But Israel says the mother and baby may have been killed by a Palestinian rocket that fell short of its target.

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