The EU on Tuesday called for a "rapid and complete de-escalation" after Israel killed a Palestinian militant commander in a strike on his home in Gaza, prompting retaliatory rocket fire.
The strike in Gaza City killed Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al-Ata, blamed by Israel for recent rocket fire into its territory, and was followed by "substantial" rocket fire in return.
"The firing of rockets on civilian populations is totally unacceptable and must immediately stop," the EU's diplomatic service said in a statement.
"A rapid and complete de-escalation is now necessary to safeguard the lives and security of Palestinian and Israeli civilians."
Israel's military said around 50 rockets had been fired at its territory and air defences had intercepted around 20 of them.
The strikes and rocket fire raised the possibility of a severe escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Three wars have been fought between them since 2008, and Gaza has been under a strict Israeli blockade for more than a decade.
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