Three foreign workers at the Eshkol Regional Council were injured on Wednesday in an ongoing rocket attack
on southern Israel.
Two of the three sustained serious wounds and one sustained light wounds. They were rushed to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
A woman residing at the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council was lightly wounded after running to a shelter. She was taken to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
More than 50 rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip
hit southern Israel since Tuesday night, 30 of them at the Eshkol area. Five houses suffered a direct hit.
The Iron Dome
system intercepted seven rockets fired at Hof Ashkelon.
Hamas' military wing and the Popular Resistance Committees have both claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.
|Watch: Iron Dome intercepts Gaza rocket (Video: Ohad Gonen)|
School has been suspended at the Eshkol, Shaar Hanegev and Sdot Negev regional councils and residents were instructed to remain inside fortified spaces.
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter may cut his Eilat visit as part of the Turning Point 6 drill short in order to attend situation assessments in the Gaza vicinity area in the wake of Wednesday's escalation.
Wounded transported to hospital (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
Severe damage in Shaar Hanegev (Photo: Roee Idan)
The army launched several airstrikes in Gaza since Tuesday night in response to rocket fire. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that Air Force jets attacked a terrorist cell in the southern Gaza Strip at 6 am, immediately after it had fired a rocket on Wednesday morning.
The firing began at 4:45 am. Six rockets were fired at the Eshkol and Sdot Negev regional councils. Earlier, three rockets exploded in open areas in Sdot Negev and Shaar Hanegev. At about 6:30 am a third barrage saw four rockets exploding in open areas at the Eshkol Regional Council.
Direct hit in Gaza vicinity area (Photo: Yoel Feldman)
House in Eshkol Council suffers direct hit (Photo: Roee Idan)
At around midnight, the IAF thwarted
the firing of rockets in an airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinians reported that two people were killed and others were injured.
Earlier, the army targeted a terrorist cell firing rockets from Beit Lahia. Palestinian sources said that one person had been killed – a member of Hamas' military wing - and three were injured.
Severe damage in south (Photo: Haim Hornstein, Yedioth Ahronoth)
Meanwhile, the condition of a Givati company commander, Captain Ziv Shilon,
who sustained moderate wounds on Tuesday after being hit
by explosives at the border fence, has stabilized.
Shilon had lost one arm. He is hospitalized at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
The escalation in the south follows the historic visit of Qatari ruler Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in Gaza on Tuesday. Al Thani was the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas seized control of the Strip five years ago.
Neri Brener, Ilana Curiel and Elior Levy contributed to this report