The IAF struck a terror cell preparing to fire rockets at Israel's south, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said Saturday.
The IDF said that the pilots reported hitting their mark. Palestinian sources in Gaza said one man was killed and another man was injured in the strike.
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Over 30 Qassams, mortar shells and Grad rockets were fired from northern Gaza at Israel throughout Saturday evening, as the defense establishment and the south's residents brace for yet another round of escalation vis-à-vis the Gaza-based terror groups.
The fire followed a border attack that saw terrorists launch an anti-tank missile at an IDF patrol near Karni crossing. Two soldiers were seriously wounded and two others were moderately injured.
IDF tanks fired at terror targets in the Strip following the attack. Gaza medical sources said that four people were killed and 25 others were injured.
Running for cover in Ashkelon (Photo: AFP)
Gaza's terror groups issued a uniform statement threatening retaliation, vowing that "Israel will pay for its crimes" and saying that they will "coordinate their response to the Zionist's massacre in Gaza."
The rocket fire on Israel began at about 8:30 pm, when the Color Red alert sounded across the Gaza vicinity communities.
The Eshkol and Sha'ar Hanegev regional councils bore the brunt of the evening's fire, with 25 projectiles landing in Eshkol alone. No injuries were reported.
Around 9 pm, an air raid siren sounded in Ashdod, Yavne, Gedera, Gan Yavne and Ashkelon, as rockets were fired at the area.
The Iron Dome battery deployed in the area intercepted three rockets. One shell was intercepted over Ashdod, while another landed north of the city, causing no harm.
The IDF ordered the area's residents to remain within close proximity to shelters pending further instructions.
Rocket in the back yard (Photo: Matan Gorlenik)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz called a security assessment of the sector on Saturday night.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was briefed of the situation.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak commented on the incident, saying: "The IDF reacted with force to the event and an additional response will be determined in the following days. We will not abide any escalation in the situation on the southern fence."
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter commented on the escalation in the south, saying that Israel "must reestablish its military deterrence in Gaza."
He added: "Israel must rip the mask off (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas' face, as he continues to shrug off any responsibility for the terror coming from Gaza."
Alon Shuster, head of Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council told Ynet: "We have been on constant alert for 13 years now… civilians on both sides will continue paying the price, until our neighbored regime changes its attitude, which is not likely to happen soon.
"After 13 years of military operations and the Gaza pullout, we now realize there is no easy solution and that the country must address this situation."
As a precautionary measure, Gan Yanve has suspended the school day for Sunday.
The City of Ashdod and the Gaza vicinity communities said that they will decide on the matter on Sunday morning.
Neri Brenner contributed to this report
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