Rockets and missiles from Gaza killed three civilians in Israel while Israeli air strikes and artillery fire killed seven Palestinians militants in surging cross-border fighting on Sunday, according to Gazan officials and the Israeli military.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he ordered the military to continue “massive strikes” against Gaza’s ruling Hamas group and Islamic Jihad, in the most serious border clashes since a spate of fighting in November.
Israel’s military said more than 600 rockets and other projectiles - over 150 of them intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system - have been fired at southern Israeli cities and villages since Friday.
It said it attacked more than 260 targets belonging to Gaza militant groups. Gaza officials said Israeli air strikes and artillery fire killed 16 people including five civilians since Friday.
A rocket that hit a house in Ashkelon on Sunday killed a 58-year-old man, police said. He was the first such Israeli civilian fatality since the seven-week-long Gaza war in 2014.
Another rocket strike in Ashkelon killed a factory worker, a hospital official said. The military said a third civilian was killed by an anti-tank missile fired at his car from Gaza near the border.
In Gaza, Islamic Jihad identified six fighters killed in Israeli strikes.
In what it said was a separate, targeted attack, Israel’s military killed Hamed Ahmed Al-Khodary, a Hamas commander. The military said he was responsible for transferring funds from Iran to armed factions in Gaza. Hamas confirmed Khodary had been killed.
The attack on his car was the first such killing by Israel of a top militant since the war five years ago. Israel had suspended what Palestinians call an assassination policy in a bid to lower tensions.