Seven mortar shells exploded near towns in the Eshkol Regional Council on Tuesday. No injuries or damage were immediately reported.
The IAF retaliated with strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Shortly before 10 pm, two hours after the mortars were launched, the IDF opened fire on a terrorist cell located in the north of Gaza, sources on the Strip reported. Medical officials said that one was killed and three were injured in the attack.
The army confirmed that an IAF aircraft fired on terror operatives who were getting ready to fire more rockets on Israel. A direct hit was indentified.
According to the Palestinian sources, the deceased operative belonged to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas'
The IAF mounted a second attack around midnight, again thwarting a rocket attack. Palestinian sources said that two were killed in the strike.
Due to the mortar fire, security forces instructed Eshkol residents to remain near their shelters. The fortified children's quarters at Kibbutz Re'im were opened in order to allow residents to spend the night.
"We're currently opening shelters and fortified children's homes to anyone wishing to spend the night there. Chances are it's going to be an interesting night," said a resident of the Kibbutz. "People are frightened to stay in their homes; We just received a text message telling us to stay in the protected spaces, but there aren't any around here. It's a well known ritual and we must always be prepared."
Earlier Tuesday, an IDF officer at the Givati combat unit, Captain Ziv Shilon, sustained moderate to serious injuries when a bomb
went off on the Gaza border fence.
A preliminary inquiry suggested that the officer was hurt upon opening a gate. It was initially estimated the blast was caused by a roadside bomb, but the IDF had not yet ruled out the possibility of it being a mortar shell explosion.
Captain Shilon lost the palm of his hand in the attack, and went into a several hours of surgery at the Soroka Medical Center. He remains in intensive care, and is still fighting for his life.
On Monday IAF attacks on the Gaza Strip killed three Palestinian terrorists and injured several others, including officials at Hamas' military wing.
Several Israeli websites were disrupted by hackers earlier on Monday, including those of Habima National Theater, the Chief Rabbinate and the IDF Golani Unit's website; the hackers posted footage of rockets being launched with the phrase "Gaza hackers were here."
Elior Levy contributed to the report