Israel and Hamas agree on truce after deadly flare-up, officials say

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A pregnant Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old child were killed in the Israeli attacks, as was a Hamas militant.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that more than 180 rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza toward Israel, sparking rocket alarms in the country.

Conricus wouldn't comment on Israeli media reports of troops preparing for a possible ground operation, but said Israel "had ground troops that are ready to deploy".

Smoke rises from an explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike on a building of Said al-Mis'hal cultural center in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018.

Public pressure in Israel to take more decisive military action is building.

And while The Washington Post's opening sentence recounts the events in reverse chronological order it does explicitly state that the Israeli strikes were in response to the Palestinian rockets: "Israel struck more than 150 targets in Gaza in response to a barrage of rockets from the Palestinian territory, its military said Thursday, in a significant escalation even as negotiations took place on a longer term cease-fire" (Emphasis added).

Four Palestinians, including an unborn child, were killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza, according to Palestinian Health Ministry officials.

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On the Israeli side, at least seven people were wounded.

An Israeli man outside a house in Sderot damaged by shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza.

A long-range rocket fired from Gaza struck an uninhabited area outside the largest city in southern Israel on Thursday, Israeli police said, hours after a Palestinian official said an end to a surge in cross-border fighting could be near.

After four hours of discussion about the escalation in the south and the hard situation in which Israelis there are living, Israel's Ministerial Committee on National Security instructed the IDF to "continue to act with force against terrorist elements".

"The government is in dire need of individual initiatives and investments to provide power so that it can become independent of the occupation (Israel), step by step", Shifa' Abu Sa'adi, head of natural resources at the Palestinian economy ministry, told Reuters.

Maariv commentator Ben Caspit wrote that during the security cabinet meeting on Thursday Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman was a lone voice in support of a new war in Gaza.

Israel has also been battling nearly daily airborne arson attacks from Gaza caused by kites and balloons rigged with incendiary devices flown across the border that have sparked large fires that destroyed forests, burned crops and killed wildlife and livestock.

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The West Bank only gets around three-quarters of the power its 3 million people need, imported mostly from Israel and, to a far lesser extent, Jordan.

Israel's army said it targeted more than 150 Hamas military locations, including militant compounds and weapons manufacturing sites.

"Everyday life in besieged Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy", IMEU added, posting a video compilation that captures the living conditions of millions of the almost two million people living in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier urged the United Nations to stop Israel's latest aggression against Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege for the past decade.

Protests and clashes along the Gaza border began on March 30.

As Israeli airstrikes persist and the living situation gravely worsens, Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege.

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