Israel Strikes Gaza in Response to Qassam Rockets

Since the start of 2010, more than 20 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel from Gaza.

Israel Air Force jets fired missiles early Wednesday at targets in the southern Gaza Strip, responding to rockets fired from the coastal salient by Palestinian militants, Israel's military said.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman would not specify which targets were hit in the strike, shortly after midnight, nor confirm or deny eyewitness reports that an unused airport, named after late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was struck by a number of missiles. No injuries were reported.

He said the air strikes were retaliation to two Gaza-made rockets fired into southern Israel on Sunday and Monday.

"The IDF Israel Defense Forces will continue to act firmly against anyone who uses terror against Israel, and we see Hamas as solely responsible for maintaining peace and quiet in the Gaza Strip," the military spokesman said.

Hamas, the radical Islamist movement running Gaza, has largely observed an unwritten truce since Israel's offensive into the Strip last winter, in which some 1,400 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed.

But Palestinian militants from other, smaller factions, have continued their sporadic rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza at southern Israel.

Israel has responded to these with air strikes on smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and on sites from which the rockets and mortars are being launched at it.

Despite the relative calm in Gaza and southern Israel over the past year, tit-for-tat violence has been on the rise in recent weeks.

The IDF said more than 20 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel since the beginning of 2010.

However, the number of projectiles fired since last winter's Gaza war stands at some 320, compared to more than 3,300 over the same period leading up to the 2008-09 offensive.