Israel said it launched airstrikes targeting rocket launchers, weapons stockpiles, tunnels and other Hamas infrastructure.
A Hamas militant was also killed in one of the strikes, while at least 12 people in Gaza were reportedly injured, health officials said.
In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacked over 140 Hamas military targets in Gaza overnight.
Israel's citizens in the south have experienced an onslaught of attacks from Hamas terrorists who fired over 180 rockets at them since Wednesday evening, repeatedly setting off Red Code alerts that sent them running for cover.
A senior Israeli military official said Thursday that the army is "nearing war with Gaza" and would evacuate Israelis living in communities adjacent to the border if necessary.
US Envoy Jason Greenblatt who has been involved in peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, pointed a finger squarely at Hamas for the escalation of violence. He said, "Hamas is moving away from an arrangement to calm things down and is moving near to a war in which it would be hit hard".
Nate Diaz angrily reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov-Conor McGregor announcement
It's not hyperbole to say the fight will probably be the biggest-seller in the history of mixed martial arts. Footage appeared to show him rushing a bus on which Nurmagomedov was a passenger.
It was the third severe flare-up of violence since July and came despite attempts by United Nations officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the deceased as 34-year-old Ali Ghandour, 23-year-old Inas Khamash, and her 18-month-old daughter, Bayan Khamash.
The incident occurred while a group of senior Hamas leaders from overseas were visiting Gaza to discuss the ceasefire efforts with local leaders.
Since late on Wednesday, Gaza militants have fired dozens of rockets toward Israel, injuring several people.
The strikes came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas, which rules Gaza, were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.
The military said it intercepted some 25 rockets, while most of the others landed in open areas.
Moses, Abraham Subbed Off As Chelsea Edge Lyon On Penalties
Liverpool FC could launch a last-gasp bid to sign Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir before deadline day, according to a report in France. Nabil Fekir will not feature for Lyon against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this evening as talk of a move to London rumbles on.
The UN, he said, has engaged with Egypt in an "unprecedented effort" to avoid serious conflict, but warned that "the situation can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences for all people". "We are closing in on operation in Gaza", he said.
Both the United Nations and Egypt have not publicly discussed their plans for a renewed Gaza ceasefire, but have said it would bring economic relief to Gaza's two million residents experiencing shortages under crippling blockades.
The demonstrations have been fueled in large part by pervasive despair caused by the blockade that has caused widespread economic hardship and left the coastal territory with crippling fuel shortages and just a few hours of electricity a day.
Gaza's residents have been protesting every week since 30 March at Israel's border fence, which have been violently suppressed.
Almost 160 Palestinians have been killed and some 17,500 others wounded in the fresh wave of violence, according to the latest figures released by the Palestinian Health Ministry. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this period. Our strong commitment to the State of Israel's right to defend its borders and civilians is uncompromising.
Jurgen Klopp praises Anfield reception for Loris Karius
Wijnaldum and Salah combined to set up Firmino for a shot that deflected into the top corner off Lorenzo De Silvestri. Liverpool are in action one more time in pre-season on Tuesday night as they take on Italian side Torino at Anfield.