JERUSALEM, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Israeli warplanes struck a number of sites in the Gaza Strip on Monday, after dozens of mortar shells and rockets were fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad toward southern Israel throughout the morning.
"In response to this morning's rocket barrage at southern Israeli communities, the IDF targeted Hamas terror activity sites and terrorist squads responsible for the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip," the IDF spokesperson said in a statement.
During 2012 more than 470 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel, over 10 in October alone, the statement said.
"The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip,"it added.
The military wing of Hamas, along with the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for firing some 50 mortar shells and rockets toward the western Negev area on Monday morning. They said in a statement that they were responding to the IDF targeting two militants in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, reportedly killing one of them, and injuring 11 civilian bystanders. Monday morning's rockets and mortars landed in open fields in the Eshkol Regional Council, with three reportedly hitting Kerem Shalom. Shrapnel from the shells caused damage to some residential buildings, but no injuries were reported. Palestinian officials said that another five civilians in Gaza were wounded as a result of the IDF strikes on Monday morning.