An Israeli man sustained light wounds Wednesday night when a mortar fired from northern Gaza exploded in the western Negev's Eshkol Regional Council.
The man was evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba with injuries to his upper body after he was treated by IDF forces at the scene.
Council officials said a total of five shells were launched from the Hamas-ruled territory, adding that residents in the area were instructed to enter secure rooms.
The mortar attack occurred at around 11 pm.
A resident living in one of the communities hit by the mortar shells said: "We were in the middle of watching 'Big Brother' when suddenly the mortar shells hit. We couldn't tell where they'd hit exactly so we starting making phone calls. That's when we realized the head of security was injured. Now the entire community is on lockdown, the residents are in fortified rooms. We're not too stirred up by all of this but on the other had we're not taking this lightly, we know it's dangerous. No one expected the shooting will end, we can still hear shots."
Head of the Eshkol Regional Council Chaim Yalin said: "The shooting doesn't surprise anyone. With all the peace and quiet the government promises Palestinian communities – this is what we get."
Earlier Wednesday, a mortar fired from Gaza landed near a kibbutz in the western Negev, damaging a home. There were no reports of injury.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told paratroopers from the 202nd Battalion on Wednesday that "the situation in Gaza is volatile these days."
"We've witnessed a deterioration and the planting of numerous bombs along the border," he said. "There will be more incidents here; the fighting near the security fence will continue and we must be prepared, perhaps to operate on a broader level.
"The next round (of fighting) will be extensive and it should end in such a way where there is no doubt as to which side triumphed," the army chief told the soldiers.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning Israeli aircraft bombed
a weapons cache and an arms smuggling tunnel in south Gaza. The army said direct hits were identified. There were no reports of injuries in the strike.
The army explained that the attack was a response to the firing of rockets and mortar shells into Israel in the past two weeks, saying it viewed Hamas as solely responsible for the situation in Gaza.
Ilana Curiel and Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report