Relative calm in south shattered once again: A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Thursday night hit an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council, without causing injuries or damage.
Western Negev residents reported hearing the Color Red rocket alert system, followed by a loud explosion.
Several hours earlier, Israel Air Force planes attacked a building near the border fence in the central Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces reported that the structure was booby-trapped and sustained a direct hit.
The strike took place near the Kissufim crossing after the defense establishment received information that terrorists were using the building as an infrastructure for carrying out terror attacks. Palestinians reported that the building was empty, but that it sustained heavy damage following the explosion.
On Wednesday evening, a Qassam rocket landed near the border fence with the Gaza Strip.
The escalation in the south is taking place in the midst of a visit to Israel by US President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.
The American delegate met Thursday with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Opposition Chairwoman and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and promised to act decisively to find a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states for two people.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that the IDF would respond to the rocket fire soon. Speaking during a Mimouna celebration (North African Jewish feast following Passover), Barak said, "After the Momouna we will consider ways to respond. After eight years (of rocket fire), I hope we'll find a way to continue the state of calm."