Three Palestinians are reported dead in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, after militants fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel.
Gaza health ministry officials said a pregnant woman and her daughter, aged one, and a Hamas militant were killed in the Jafarawi area.
Israeli media said several civilians were hurt by rocket fire in Sderot and other towns near the Gaza border.
The violence came as the UN and Egypt attempted to broker a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that dominates Gaza.
UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said he was “deeply alarmed”.
“Our collective efforts have prevented the situation from exploding until now. If the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people,” he warned.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the violence broke out after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza on Wednesday.