JERUSALEM - Three people were killed on Thursday when rockets fired from Gaza struck the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi, a day after Israel's targetted killing of the military chief of Hamas.

Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reports that rockets fired into Israel by militants in Gaza hit a four-story building in the town. The three people killed were the first Israeli fatalities since Israel killed Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari on Wednesday, the military chief of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, BBC News reports.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country's military was prepared to extend its operation against Hamas into Gaza, which could lead to a significant escalation of violence in the south of the country as air strikes and rocket fire multiply between Israel and the Palestinian enclave.

In total, some 132 rockets have been fired from Gaza into the South in the 24 hours after the Israel Defense Forces launched a campaign to root out the terror infrastructure in the coastal territory, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr condemned the series of Israeli strikes, and called for an immediate halt to the attacks, as he considered the "Israeli escalation to be very dangerous," Reuters reports.