JERUSALEM/GAZA, July 7 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon as Palestinian militants in the coastal enclave continued lobbing rockets into southern Israel throughout the day.
IAF aircraft struck three underground rocket launchers in northern Gaza in response to heavy barrages of 40 rockets and mortars that had been fired since the morning, with one Grad rocket landing near the city of Beersheba, 50 km from the Gaza border, the military said in a statement.
Most of the Hamas rockets exploded in open areas, and so far no injuries or damage were reported.
Over 240 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank last month, the army statement said.
Overnight, Israel struck 14 Gaza targets in response to its 25 rockets and 14 projectiles hit Israel throughout Sunday and night.
Hamas' military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said that seven of its members were killed in a strike in Rafah. The spokesman for the Brigades said Israel would "pay the price". The Israeli military had no comment.
Israel's security cabinet was scheduled to convene on Monday to discuss possible response to the situation.
The Israeli military has called up 1,500 reservists from its Home Front Command, Israel's Ynet news site said, quoting a confirmation by a senior military official.
In Gaza, Ashraf al-Qedra, regional emergency spokesman, told reporters that two Palestinians, a man and a 4-year-old girl, were injured in the airstrikes targeting northern and southern Gaza on Monday.
Earlier, al-Qedra said nine Palestinians were killed in three separate airstrikes on central and southern Gaza Strip. Hamas said seven of the nine are members in the group's armed wing.
Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman, said in a statement that Israel will have to pay a heavy price for the strikes and the killing of its people.
Tension between Israel and Hamas-led militants groups in the Gaza Strip have been growing rapidly since the kidnapping and the killing of three Israeli teenagers. The murder of a Palestinian teenager was near east Jerusalem early in July also fuelled the inflammatory situation.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that the Palestinian leadership "won't keep silent for the endless Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinian people."
Abbas's remarks were made as he received at his office in Ramallah the family of the killed Palestinian teenager Mohamed Abu Khudeir.
RAMALLAH, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on Israel to immediately stop its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip amid a growing tension in the enclave, state-run news agency Wafa reported.
Abbas warned Israel of the dangers of escalation and tension, and called for the international community's intervention. Full story
GAZA, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Israeli war jets destroyed early on Tuesday the homes of two Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza Strip towns of Rafah and Khan Younsi, witnesses and security officials said.
Al-Hashash family members said they received a phone call from an anonymous caller, who spoke broken Arabic and identified himself as an Israeli security official, requiring the family to evacuate the house in Rafah town within five minutes. Full stroy