In previous conflicts, rights groups have accused Israel of committing war crimes due to the high number of civilian deaths. Israel says it is doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and holds the militant groups accountable because they operate in densely populated residential areas.

The latest outbreak was the most intense fighting between the sides in months, bringing the region closer to full-blown war. But in a sign that both sides were trying to show restraint, Israel avoided attacks on the ruling Hamas militant group, targeting only the smaller, more militant faction of Islamic Jihad. Hamas, meanwhile, seemed to remain on the sidelines.

Israel says it is trying to avoid conflict with Hamas, the most powerful militant group ruling Gaza, and limits the fight to Islamic Jihad.

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the Islamist militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007.

On Wednesday night, Egypt’s Extra News television channel, which has close ties to Egyptian security agencies, said Egyptian intelligence had brokered a ceasefire. Israeli officials confirmed that Egypt was trying to facilitate a ceasefire. Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss behind-the-scenes diplomacy, they said Israel would assess the situation based on actions on the ground, not statements.

Islamic Jihad said it would continue to fire rockets. Mohamad al-Hindi, an official with the group, said a sticking point in the talks was that the Palestinians wanted an Israeli commitment to stop targeted killing operations, such as those that killed three senior Islamic Jihad commanders on Tuesday night. tomorrow.

As the rockets streaked across the sky, Israeli television stations showed air defense systems intercepting rockets over the skies of Tel Aviv. In the nearby suburb of Ramat Gan, people were lying face down on the ground as they sought refuge.

The army said schools would remain closed and restrictions on large gatherings in southern Israel would remain until at least Friday. Residents were instructed to stay close to the bomb shelters.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, where Israeli-Palestinian violence has escalated over the past year, the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 30-year-old man died after he was shot by Israeli troops in a raid on Wednesday.