Three Israelis have been killed and two others injured after rockets fired from Gaza hit an apartment block in the south of the country, police have confirmed.

Dozens of rockets hit Israel overnight, with the fatalities occurring in the town of Kiryat Malahi, 15 miles north of Gaza, the BBC reported.

Hebrew language newspaper Ynet reported that two men and a woman, two seriously injured and two babies were taken to hospital with minor injures.

kiryat malachi

Volunteers clean blood stains from a children's room in an apartment in a building that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip

The three were named on Thursday afternoon as Aharon Smadga, 49, Itzik Amsalem, 24, and Mirah Sharf, 26. All will be buried on Thursday evening.

The Times of Israel reported that Ms Sharf was pregnant when she was killed, and was visiting Israel from India for a memorial services for those who died in a terror attack on a rabbi's home in Mumbai in 2008.

The attacks came after Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari was killed in a 'surgical' missile strike by the Israeli defence force on Wednesday.

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A rocket launched by Palestinians makes its way from the northern Gaza Strip


Some 11 Palestinians have been reported killed in Israel's 'Operation Pillar Of Defence' with two young children among the dead.

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Explosion and smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip


Meanwhile Hamas has said that Israel will "pay a high price" for the attack, while Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, posted a message on its Twitter profile warning that the strike had opened "the gates of hell."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to expand its operation against Hamas to protect Israeli citizens, with the Israeli military tweeting it was prepared to send ground troops in if necessary.

An urgent UN Security Council meeting was called amid the escalating violence, with UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon and President Barack Obama urging a measured response.

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The car in which Ahmed Jabari was travelling


The United States "strongly condemned" the rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel and Obama reiterated Israel's right to self defense. However it urged Israel it "make every effort to avoid civilian casualties."

Ambassador Susan Rice told the UN Security Council the US "regretted" the death and of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians, according to Associated Press.

She added: "Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause."

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A Palestinian relative carries a wounded girl into the treatment room of Shifa hospital following an Israeli airstrike

Jabari has long been a key target for the Israeli Defence Force, and topped Israel’s most-wanted list for his apparent involvement in a string of attacks against Israel, including co-ordinating the capture of soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, who was held hostage in Gaza for more than five years.

Reuters reported Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza government, saying in a statement: “We call on our Arab brothers, and especially Egypt ... and the new Egyptian presidency, to suppress this barbaric campaign in defense of Gaza and its people."

“I call for an urgent Arab summit to confront the brutal aggression,” he added.

benjamin netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Al Jazeera the assassination of Jabari is “a major escalation against our people in Gaza… We hold the Israeli government responsible."

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Ann Harrison called for restraint from all sides.

She said: “All sides have to step back from the brink in order to protect civilian lives.

“The Israeli military must not carry out further indiscriminate attacks, or attacks in densely-populated residential areas that will inevitably harm civilians.

“Palestinian armed groups in Gaza meanwhile must not fire indiscriminate rockets into Israel. The international community must put pressure on both sides to fully respect the laws of war and protect civilian lives and property.”

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi has recalled the ambassador to Israel and summoned Israel’s ambassador in Cairo, calling for an "immediate halt to the attacks."

In the wake of the attack, the IDF launched a social media offensive, warning other Hamas leaders they too were targets, and live-tweeting attacks from both sides.


IDF
We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.


IDF
Breaking: Israeli Navy has struck terror sites in the Strip.


IDF
Rocket fired from hits shopping center in major southern Israeli city.

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  • Explosion and smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • A rocket launched by Palestinians militants towards Israel makes its way from the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel,Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • An Israel war plane drops a bomb over the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • Explosion and smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • A Palestinian boy holds a window pane taken from a damaged house hit in an Israeli strike, in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israeli aircraft, tanks and naval gunboats pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and rocket salvoes thudded into southern Israel, as residents on both sides of the frontier holed up at home in anticipation of heavy fighting on the second day of Israel's offensive against Islamic militants. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT-GAZA

    An Israeli policeman inspects damages at a house that was hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip in the southern city of Netivot on November 12, 2012. Gaza militants fired nine rockets at southern Israel, one of which exploded next to a house, police said, shattering an overnight calm even as Cairo sought to broker an end to 24 hours of bloodshed. AFP PHOTO/DAVID BUIMOVITCH

  • Explosion and smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA

    Palestinian children walk past a graffiti depicting resistance fighters in Gaza City on November 12, 2012. The spike in violence, which comes as Israel is in the middle of an election campaign, raised the spectre of a broader Israeli military campaign to stamp out rocket fire, although commentators said it was unlikely it would be one on the scale of Operation Cast Lead. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED (

  • An unidentified Israeli man inspects the damage to a house caused by a rocket thought to have been fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. Hostilities along the Gaza-Israel border escalated sharply over the weekend, with bombardments from Gaza causing rare Israeli casualties and Israeli strikes killing several Palestinians. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • People look at a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. The Israeli military said its assassination of the Hamas military commander marks the beginning of an operation against Gaza militants.

  • Masked Palestinian militants from the Al Nasser Brigades, an armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), leave after a press conference in Gaza City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. During the press conference the militants claimed responsibility for the shooting of an Israeli jeep on the border with Israeli on Nov. 10, 2012 in which four soldiers were injured.

  • Masked Palestinian militants from the Al Nasser Brigades, an armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), hold a press conference in Gaza City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. The militants claimed responsibility for the shooting of an Israeli jeep on the border with Israeli on Nov. 10, 2012 in which four soldiers were injured. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • FILE - In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 file photo, a rocket is launched from the Israeli anti-missile system known as "Iron Dome" in order to intercept a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip in Ashdod, Israel. Last year Israel activated the Iron Dome, a first-of-its-kind system that intercepts rockets fired from short distances of up to 70 kilometers (50 miles) and has shot down dozens of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, including several projectiles fired over the past week. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, file)

  • People look at a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. The Israeli military said its assassination of the Hamas military commander marks the beginning of an operation against Gaza militants. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • People gather around a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. The Israeli military said its assassination of the Hamas military commander marks the beginning of an operation against Gaza militants. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Palestinian witnesses say Israeli airstrikes have hit a series of targets across Gaza City, shortly after the assassination of the top Hamas commander. Hamas security officials say two Hamas training facilities were among the targets in the Wednesday afternoon bombings. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Palestinian witnesses say Israeli airstrikes have hit a series of targets across Gaza City, shortly after the assassination of the top Hamas commander. Hamas security officials say two Hamas training facilities were among the targets in the Wednesday afternoon bombings. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Israelis soldiers run to a rocket shelter as a siren sounds signaling an attack coming from the nearby Gaza Strip in Neva settlement, near the Israel-Egypt border, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • Israeli soldiers and civilians run to a rocket shelter as a siren sounds signaling an attack coming from the nearby Gaza Strip in Neva settlement, near the Israel-Egypt border, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Palestinian witnesses say Israeli airstrikes have hit a series of targets across Gaza City, shortly after the assassination of the top Hamas commander. Hamas security officials say two Hamas training facilities were among the targets in the Wednesday afternoon bombings. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Israeli security personnel take cover in Kiryat Malachi, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killed three Israelis on Thursday in a rocket attack liable to deepen a bruising Israeli air, naval and artillery offensive against Palestinian rocket squads. The casualties were the first in Israel since it launched its operation on Wednesday with the assassination of Hamas’ top military commander. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • An Israeli soldier throws a blood-stained table from an apartment building hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, killing three people in Kiryat Malachi, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killed three Israelis on Thursday in a rocket attack liable to deepen a bruising Israeli air, naval and artillery offensive against Palestinian rocket squads. The casualties were the first in Israel since it launched its operation on Wednesday with the assassination of Hamas’ top military commander. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • An Israeli soldier throws a blood-stained table from an apartment building hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, where three people were killed in Kiryat Malachi, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killed three Israelis on Thursday in a rocket attack liable to deepen a bruising Israeli air, naval and artillery offensive against Palestinian rocket squads. The casualties were the first in Israel since it launched its operation on Wednesday with the assassination of Hamas’ top military commander. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • A rocket launched by Palestinians militants towards Israel makes its way from the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel,Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • Palestinians walk by a damaged building hit in an Israeli strike, in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israeli aircraft, tanks and naval gunboats pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and rocket salvoes thudded into southern Israel, as residents on both sides of the frontier holed up at home in anticipation of heavy fighting on the second day of Israel's offensive against Islamic militants. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • A Palestinian youth walks through a damaged apartment hit in an Israeli strike, in Gaza City ,Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israeli aircraft, tanks and naval gunboats pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and rocket salvoes thudded into southern Israel, as residents on both sides of the frontier holed up at home in anticipation of heavy fighting on the second day of Israel's offensive against Islamic militants. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Palestinians inspect a damaged apartment hit in an Israeli strike, in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israeli aircraft, tanks and naval gunboats pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and rocket salvoes thudded into southern Israel, as residents on both sides of the frontier holed up at home in anticipation of heavy fighting on the second day of Israel's offensive against Islamic militants. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)