IDF attacks over 20 Gaza targets after rocket fire
With strikes still ongoing, Israeli aircraft hit Hamas military bases, rocket manufacturing sites, underground infrastructure including a terror tunnel and tunnel dig sites in retaliation for early morning rockets that landed on a home in Be'er Sheva and off the coast of central Israeli city; one Palestinian killed, 3 others wounded.
The IDF attacked over 20 targets, including a terror tunnel, in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning in retaliation for rocket fire that hit a home in Be'er Sheva and the water off the coast of a central Israeli city.
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Manelis said the retaliatory attacks will continue.
At least one 25-year-old Palestinian fighter was killed inside one of the posts and three others moderately wounded in the strikes, according to the Gaza health ministry.
An IAF aircraft also attacked a terror cell in the northern Gaza Strip that tried to launch rockets at Israel.
The cell is said to belong to an "errant" radical faction, which was formerly part of Fatah and now has close ties to Iran.
The IDF placed the blame for the rocket fire on Hamas. "The rockets that were fired are self-produced and medium-ranged. Only two organizations in Gaza have such rockets: Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It doesn't matter who fired, Hamas bears the responsibility," Manelis added.
IDF Spokesman Manelis said the Iron Dome missile-defense system did not stop the rocket that hit Be'er Sheva because "the system's abilities are non-hermetic."
Egypt has been trying to mediate a long-term cease-fire to stave off another confrontation. An Egyptian delegation arrived in Gaza on Tuesday to continue the talks and Kamel Abbas, the head of Egyptian intelligence, is due to arrive in Israel on Thursday.
After the early morning rockets, Hamas and Islamic Jihad released a statement from the "joint coordination room of resistance factions," in which they said they "reject all irresponsible attempts that try to change the direction and sabotage the Egyptian efforts, including the overnight firing of the rocket."
The military factions in Gaza also later informed the Egyptian delegation that they are not interested in an escalation with Israel, but are "ready to confront the Israeli aggression."
The rocket alert siren went off at 3:39am in Be'er Sheva and surrounding communities in the Negev region, sending residents running for shelter.
One rocket landed on a Be'er Sheva home while another landed in the sea off the shores of a city in central Israel.
Seven people were treated for shock after the attack, including a 39-year-old mother and her three children aged 9, 10, and 12, who were in the house when it was hit. In addition, three people were taken to the Soroka Medical Center in the city suffering from light bruising sustained when falling as they were running for shelter.
Due to the size of the rocket and the force of the impact, heavy damage was caused to the house that was hit and it is at risk of collapse. A house next door was hit by shrapnel from the rockets, and its balcony collapsed.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot decided to cut short his trip to the United States following the rocket attack, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings and the reduction of the strip's fishing zone to three nautical miles.
Be'er Sheva, which is some 40 kilometers from Gaza, is the biggest city in southern Israel, with a population of around 200,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.