Gaza militants fired dozens of rockets at southern Israel early Tuesday, killing a man in a strike on a residential building, and warning they'd escalate their attacks if Israel continues bombing targets in the Gaza Strip. The cross-border attacks, which were triggered by a botched Israeli undercover raid into Hamas-ruled Gaza late Sunday, marked the most serious escalation since an Israel-Hamas war in 2014, per the AP. International mediators appealed for restraint, hoping to avert another war. The Israeli military said some 400 rockets and mortars have been launched from Gaza since the current round began on Monday afternoon, with about 100 of them intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system. Israel has hit more than 100 targets it says are linked to militants in Gaza, including a strike that destroyed the TV station of Hamas.
Gaza's health ministry says two Palestinians in their 20s were killed in separate airstrikes, raising the number killed since the Israeli offensive began Monday to six, including four militants; at least 25 are hurt. Israeli medical officials say a 48-year-old man was found Tuesday under the rubble of a building hit by a rocket in Ashkelon. At least 20 people have been hurt in Israel, three critically. School has been canceled in parts of southern Israel, and a local election postponed due to the threat of further attacks. Over the past few months, the sides have come close to a major escalation several times, only to step back in favor of a long-term Egyptian-mediated truce. However, the current level of escalation and angry rhetoric, including Hamas' warnings to strike deeper inside Israel, may make it more difficult to restore calm. Israel's security cabinet began meeting to discuss next steps; the UN appealed for calm and is trying to broker a ceasefire.
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