67 killed in Gaza, 7 killed in Israel as UN warns conflict could turn into ‘full-scale war’

Jerusalem, Ashkelon and Gaza CNN  — 

The worst violence in years between Israelis and Palestinians showed no signs of letting up Wednesday, as continued Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket fire prompted the United Nations to warn the conflict could mushroom into “full-scale war.”

Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza has now killed at least 67 people, including 17 children, and injured more than 388 more, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry. Israel says at least 15 of the dead were Hamas militants.

“Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full-scale war,” tweeted UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland. “The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now.”

Militants in Gaza have fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israel since the latest flareup began Monday afternoon, injuring more than 200 Israeli civilians, the Israeli military said Wednesday. A six-year-old boy became the seventh Israeli fatality when a rocket fired from Gaza struck a residential building in Sderot, according to an emergency responder. Around 130 rockets hit Tel Aviv last night, forcing Israel’s main international airport, Ben Gurion to close.

Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, but several struck Tel Aviv, setting a bus ablaze and killing one Israeli woman. Thousands of Israelis spent the night in bomb shelters.

An Israeli soldier was also killed on Wednesday when Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile from Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement. Two soldiers were injured in the same incident, the IDF said.