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Ceasefire called after more than 20 die in Israel-Gaza fighting

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Children participate in an air raid siren exercise

Hamas confirmed Hamed Al Khoudary, a senior official in the organisation, was killed and three others seriously injured, when the auto they were driving in was targeted by the Israelis. The Israeli military said Sunday it had responded to 450 rockets fired from Gaza with over 250 airstrikes against the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Between Saturday morning and Sunday evening, more than 700 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians living in southern communities along the border, cities in the Negev, the coastal plain, and in major cities such as Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon and Ashdod.

On the Israeli side four civilians were killed as Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired barrages of rockets and at least one anti-tank missile from the enclave, Israeli authorities said. An Israeli army spokeswoman had no comment. It said it attacked more than 260 targets belonging to Gaza militant groups.

Israel said another destroyed building housed Hamas and Islamic Jihad offices. It targeted militant sites and in some cases militants themselves as well as their homes if they were found to be storing weapons, military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said. The two terrorist groups said in a joint statement that they were considering firing rockets to cities over 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Gaza strip. It first identified the woman as the baby's mother, but the family clarified on Sunday that she was the aunt. According to reports, at least three Israeli occupation forces have been killed in the missile attack.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, "We strongly condemn the attacks in Gaza by Hamas terrorists".

Air strikes directed at Hamas and extremist facilities from Israel's military in response to the barrage of rockets have killed 19 Palestinians, more than half of whom have been civilians, according to Reuters. We support Israel 100% in its defence of its citizens.

But the violence - the most serious border clashes since a spate of fighting in November - appeared to abate early on Monday. A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt and the United Nations, had led to relative calm around Israel's April 9 general election.

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