JERUSALEM, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli military said it launched strikes on two sites used by militants in northern and southern Gaza Strip with artillery fire on Wednesday evening in response to a massive barrage of rockets fired at Israeli communities bordering the coastal enclave.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities on the Israeli side.
More than 30 rockets had been fired into Israel in the course of two hours, eight of which exploded in populated areas, the Israeli army said in a text message.
It declined to identify the locations where the projectiles landed, but said that three were intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system. Israel's Channel 1 showed footage of a street hit by a rocket in the town of Sderot.
Israel Radio and other media outlets reported that over 50 rockets fired from Gaza, the largest rocket attack in the region since the end of operation Pillar of Defense, an eight-day Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip, in November 2012. The veracity of the reports could not be immediately confirmed.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of several militant factions operating in the Palestinian enclave, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, according to Palestinian media reports.
The group said an Israeli airstrike in southern Gaza on Tuesday killed three of its members. Israel confirmed the strike, saying it targeted a PIJ cell after it fired a mortar shell at troops that were carrying out a routine patrol along the border fence in southern Gaza.