Nine Palestinians killed in new Israeli strikes on Gaza
At least nine Palestinians were killed in Israeli air and missile strikes on Gaza early on Wednesday taking the death toll from a two-day flare-up to 21, according to Gaza's health ministry with 50 Palestinians also injured
Israel launched deadly strikes against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group early on Tuesday, killing Bahaa Abu Al-Ata, a senior commander of the group, and his wife. A further airstrike on Damascus in Syria killed the son of another Islamic Jihad commander.
Palestinian militants fired rockets at Israel in retaliation and these triggered a new wave of deadly Israeli airstrikes.
Approximately 220 Palestinian rockets have been fired at Israel since Tuesday, but there have been no Israeli casualties and the army claims to have intercepted most of the rockets.
The Israeli military said it carried out a series of strikes on Islamic Jihad targets on Wednesday, claiming this was in response to new rocket fire from Gaza. The airstrikes hit the towns of Beit Lahiya and Khan Yunis.
Islamic Jihad said one of the four people killed in Gaza on Wednesday was a member, identifying him as 38-year old Khaled Farraj. Another of the casualties was identified as Alaa Ashtewi, a 32-year old civilian.
Among those killed since Tuesday were a father and his two sons from the Ayyad family, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.
In Israel on Wednesday, air raid sirens sounded in the Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Netivot near the Gaza border.
Palestinian militants also reportedly struck an Israeli tank with a missile near the Jabaliya refugee camp north of Gaza, damaging it according to eyewitnesses.
In a televised statement, Abu Hamza, a commander of the Al-Quds Brigade, vowed that Israel would regret its attack on Gaza, saying that the attack would bring nothing but "war and destruction" to Israel.
Islamic Jihad also said that it would never allow Israel to return to its policy of targeted assassinations in Gaza which it adopted during the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s.
In a series of tweets, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh condemned the strikes on Gaza.
"Israel must immediately stop its ongoing aggression against our people in Gaza," he said.
"We call upon the United Nations to provide international protection to our people who continue to be subjected to Israeli violations and crimes both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
He said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are "conducting intensive regional and international contacts to deter this aggression".
Shtayyeh also accused Israeli leaders of using the Gaza strikes as an "electoral card" in negotiations to form an Israeli government, following indecisive Israeli elections in September.