A pregnant Palestinian mother and her toddler daughter were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza on Sunday, as violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatened to spiral out of control.
Nur Hassan, 30, and her daughter Rahaf Hassan, 2, were killed when their house in northern Gaza Strip sector Zeitun was demolished by the Israeli attack, medics said, with three others still trapped under the ruins.
Israel said it had targeted “two Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities” in response to two rocket launches at Israel, as well as a number of attempts by Palestinians to violently break into Israel from Gaza.
One of the rockets had hit an open field in southern Israel and the other was intercepted, while nine Palestinians were killed during the border clashes with Israeli soldiers.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and president Mahmud Abbas have sought to avoid an escalation, frustrated Palestinian youths have defied efforts to restore calm and a wave of stabbings has spread fear in Israel.
Gaza had been mainly calm amid the week’s unrest elsewhere, but the recent clashes, rockets and air strike exacerbated fears that a wider Palestinian uprising, or intifada, could erupt.