IDF strikes kill two militants in separate Gaza Strip incidents
Palestinians say two civilians killed; two houses hit as Qassam barrage from Gaza Strip strikes Sderot.
The Israel Defense Forces killed two Palestinian militants in two separate incidents in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
In the first incident on Wednesday morning, IDF troops shot a missile toward militants preparing to shoot a rocket in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, killing one and injuring six, medics and militants said.
Islamic Jihad said its men were launching a rocket when they were hit by a surface-to-surface missile. Medics confirmed one was killed and six were injured, two critically.
In the second incident, a militant was killed when an IDF forced fired a missile at militants seconds after they launched a rocket from near Beit Hanun in northern Gaza. Palestinian witnesses and medical officials said two civilians - a man and a woman - were killed in the strike. The IDF said it would look into the claims.
The witnesses and medical officials also said that four people were injured in the strike, including some in critical condition.
Members of the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees told Hamas television that militants from that group launched rockets from the area before the IDF strike.
In recent weeks, Israel has stepped up its air strikes and tank-fire attacks against Gaza militants who fire rockets into Israel on a daily basis, including at least 10 on Wednesday.
Hospital officials in Gaza confirmed that two bodies had arrived at the hospital, that of a woman and a young man. The officials said the dead appeared to be civilians.
Palestinian militants fired at least 10 Qassams and 12 mortar shells at the western Negev on Wednesday. Two Qassams directly struck houses in the town of Sderot, damaging the buildings.
In one of the houses, a woman and her two-year-old son were in the house at the time of the attack and managed to take shelter in a protected room.
The rocket came through the ceiling and landed on the boy's bed causing extensive damage, relatives told Army Radio.
Yaakov Dahan, a resident of the house, told Haaretz that this was the second time his family had been barely missed a direct Qassam hit. Seven months earlier, Dahan and other family members left a Sderot synagogue moments before a Qassam landed outside the building.