Live updates: The exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza on the second day of clashes

attributed to him…Mahmoud Hams/AFP – Getty Images

Fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip extended into the second Saturday, in what became the largest fire in the Strip in a year.

Israel, which launched a military operation with a series of air strikes on Gaza on Friday, targeted what it said were Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s missile factories and warehouses on Saturday. Activists fired rockets at Israeli towns closest to Gaza.

Local news reports showed pictures of two apartment buildings flattened by Israeli missile strikes on Saturday. The Israeli army said its helicopters and ships targeted what it described as two weapons caches, which it said were located “in the residences of terrorist operatives of the Islamic Jihad organization in the Gaza Strip.” It was not immediately clear if they were referring to the same apartment buildings.

Rockets fired from Gaza hit a house in the Israeli border town of Sderot and another Israeli gathering near the Gaza border on Saturday, according to Israeli police and local news reports. A civilian was slightly injured.

By midday, sirens were warning of incoming rockets being fired farther north of the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said that the death toll of Palestinians during two days of fighting rose to 13 on Saturday afternoon, with more than 110 wounded. Among those killed on Friday was a 5-year-old girl.

attributed to him…Mahmoud Hams/AFP – Getty Images

On Saturday, two Israeli soldiers were wounded by a mortar that landed on an Israeli collective farm near the Gaza border, according to the army.

It appears that most of the shells fired into Israeli territory either landed in open areas or were intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome air defense system.

A ceasefire does not appear imminent, despite early mediation efforts by international actors, including the United Nations. Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, the dominant armed Islamist group in Gaza, said he spoke during the night with officials from Egypt and Qatar as well as with the United Nations.

Fighting erupted Friday afternoon when Israel launched air strikes it said were an attempt to thwart an imminent attack from Gaza by Islamic Jihad, after nearly a week of heightened tensions between Israel and Gaza’s second-largest armed group. Israeli officials said they were only targeting Islamic Jihad, after they said it was about to fire anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets on Friday afternoon.

Israel arrested one of the group’s top leaders this week in the West Bank, prompting threats of retaliation against its leadership in Gaza. An Israeli air strike on Friday killed Taysir al-Jabari, a senior leader in the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli military also said it had arrested 19 Islamic Jihad activists in overnight raids across the occupied West Bank.

attributed to him…Menachem Kahane/AFP – Getty Images

On Saturday morning, Israeli military spokesman, Ran Kochav, told Israel Public Radio that the fighting would likely continue for at least a week and that there were no negotiations underway to end the hostilities.

But during the night, the militants reduced the range of their rocket fire, targeting mostly areas close to Gaza rather than the cities farther north, which they initially targeted.

Analysts said the reassessment could prevent the situation from escalating further – as well as a decision by Hamas to remain on the sidelines of the fighting.

Islamic Jihad sometimes operates independently of Hamas, which does not always support the smaller group in its rocket wars with Israel.

attributed to him…Fatima Shabeer/Associated Press

Fadi Hannouna contributed to the report.

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