Israel kills senior Gaza commanders

STORY: Israeli air strikes killed the head of Islamic Jihad's rocket force in Gaza early on Thursday (May 11).

It was part of an operation that has cost more than two dozen lives, including Palestinian women and children this week and been met with hundreds of rockets fired from the enclave.

The deaths of Ali Ghali, head of Islamic Jihad's rocket force, and of Ahmed Abu Daqqa, a senior commander of its armed wing, brought the number of senior figures from the faction killed to five, since Israel began striking Gaza on Tuesday.

The death toll in the raids includes at least four women and six children.

The military said Ghali and Abu Daqqa helped oversee rocket launches towards Israel over recent days.

As well as in previous rounds of fighting with Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed group allied with Hamas, which rules the blockaded enclave.

Reuters images showed rockets intercepted by Israeli air defences in the night sky.

The Israeli military said it had attacked over 150 targets in Gaza, while well over 500 rockets were launched towards Israel this week - with almost 400 of those crossing into Israel.

Israeli air defences intercepted 96% of those that threatened to hit targets.

More than a year of Israeli-Palestinian violence has killed more than 100 Palestinians and at least 19 Israelis and foreigners since January.

The latest escalation drew international calls for a ceasefire.

Egyptian mediation efforts to end the flare-up in violence are underway, according to the country's foreign ministry.