JERUSALEM, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Air Force struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon in response to rockets fired earlier against Israeli communities.
Israeli aircraft attacked seven "terror sites" in southern Gaza on Thursday, the military said. Two of the sites included a smuggling tunnel and an underground rocket launcher in Rafah, local media reported.
The air strikes came after Islamic Jihad terrorists fired six rockets at western Negev on Thursday.
Israeli military said four of the projectiles launched in the morning had likely landed in Palestinian territory, while the remaining two fired shortly afterwards exploded in open areas between the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.
There were no reports of injuries in the attacks.
Earlier Wednesday saw the single largest rocket onslaught since a cease-fire ended eight days of cross-border violence in November 2012. Consecutive barrages of at least 60 rockets fired from northern and southern Gaza exploded in western Negev on Wednesday afternoon, triggering alert sirens that sent thousands of Israeli civilians fleeing for cover in bomb shelters and protected rooms.
Israeli military said that five projectiles fell in populated areas, and three were intercepted.
Israel swiftly responded with artillery fire against two militant targets, which was followed by air strikes on another 29 targets across the Palestinian enclave on Wednesday night.
Islamic Jihad, a Gaza-based militant group, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, saying it was a response to an Israeli air strike on Tuesday that killed three of its members. Israeli military on Wednesday released a drone-taken video, showing the killed militants were previously firing a mortar at Israeli troops.
Israeli army said the escalation has led to a "substantial deterioration" in the safety of Israelis residing in the south, citing a sharp spike in the number of rockets fired into Israel since the beginning of this year.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday reiterated his commitment to the security of southern Israel, warning of a "fierce response" to the rocket fire.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon echoed Netanyahu's remarks, saying that Israel has a "range of options" that it will not hesitate to employ in order to curb the rocket attacks.
JERUSALEM, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Thursday ordered the military to prepare for a further escalation on the border with Gaza, after two days of massive rocket fire at southern Israel and retaliatory Israeli strikes.
A limited number of reserve troops were called up Thursday to bolster Iron Dome rocket defenses, local media said. Full story
JERUSALEM, March 13 (Xinhua) -- More than sixty rockets and mortars have been fired from the Gaza Strip to southern Israel since Wednesday night, which was seen as the first major escalation since Israel launched Operation Pillars of Defense in November 2012. Analysts here say the attack is more about showing the Islamic Jihad's military capabilities than seeking confrontation with Israel.
The rockets attack came after Israel intercepted an Iranian ship last week that carried advanced missiles heading for the Gaza Strip. Full story