JERUSALEM – The Latest on developments in Israel and the Palestinian territories (all times local):
The United Nations' Mideast envoy is expressing his concern about the latest escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas.
Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special envoy who is involved in Egyptian efforts to broker a truce, said in a statement on Thursday that he's "deeply alarmed" by "multiple rockets fired toward communities in southern Israel" the day before.
Mladenov's statement came amid the latest surge in violence this week, in which Hamas fired over 150 rockets at Israel. In turn, Israel carried out over 140 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
Mladenov says that for months, he has warned the "humanitarian, security and political crisis in Gaza risks a devastating conflict that nobody wants."
He added that "if the current escalation however is not contained immediately, the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people."
Israeli warplanes hit struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there, while Palestinian militants from the territory fired scores of rockets into Israel in a fierce burst of violence overnight.
The flare-up comes as Egypt is trying to broker a long-term cease-fire between the two sides. At least three Palestinians died — a pregnant woman, her 1-year-old daughter and a Hamas militant. That's according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
On the Israeli side, at least seven people were wounded.
It was not clear if the escalation, the latest in a series of intense exchanges of fire in recent months, would derail the indirect negotiations between Israel and Gaza's Hamas militant rulers.