At least 24 Palestinians have been killed and more than 200 injured after Israeli airstrikes pounded Gaza for a second day.
Six people, including four children, died on Saturday after explosions ripped through the narrow Gaza Strip.
Palestinian militant group Hamas said the children were killed in an Israeli explosion near the Jabalya refugee camp.
However, the Israeli military denied responsibility, saying a failed launch of an Islamic Jihad rocket caused the explosion.
The recent bloodbath began on Friday after Israel targeted the commander-in-chief of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Its airstrikes continued throughout the night and killed a number of civilians, including a five-year-old girl who died alongside her cousin.
At least 24 Palestinians, including six children, were killed and 203 injured during the two days of shooting, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
Palestinian militants reportedly responded with more than 400 rockets, although Israel said most of them were intercepted.
As rockets were fired into Tel Aviv, the Israeli ambulance service confirmed that there were no serious injuries.
Israel insisted it was attacking hidden arms depots in residential areas, destroying homes as a result. Its army said it apprehended 19 other Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives on Saturday.
Egypt said it was engaged in intensive talks to calm the situation. Further escalation would largely depend on Hamas deciding to join the fighting alongside the small Islamic Jihad group.
An Egyptian intelligence delegation led by Major General Ahmed Abdelkhaliq arrived in Israel on Saturday and will travel to Gaza for mediation talks, two Egyptian security sources said. They hoped to secure a one-day ceasefire in order to complete the talks, the sources added.
“Intensive efforts have been made this evening and the movement has listened to the mediators, but these efforts have not yet resulted in an agreement,” an Islamic Jihad official said.
Israel halted the planned transport of fuel to Gaza shortly before it struck on Friday, crippling the territory’s only power plant and reducing electricity to around eight hours a day and drawing warnings from health officials that the hospitals would be badly affected within days.
The border had been largely quiet since May last year, when 11 days of fierce fighting between Israel and militants left at least 250 dead in Gaza and 13 in Israel.
UN and European Union envoys to the Middle East have expressed concern over the violence, and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority has condemned Israel’s attacks.
Meanwhile, the United States said it supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but urged all parties to avoid further escalation.
Around 2.3 million Palestinians are crammed into Gaza’s narrow coastal strip, with Israel and Egypt severely restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of the enclave and imposing a naval blockade , citing security concerns.
The Independent Gt