Text size

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired seven Qassam rockets at the western Negev on Thursday, hours after the Israel Air Force struck targets in the Gaza Strip in response to two days of intense rocket fire.

The IAF attacked multiple targets in Gaza late Wednesday and overnight Thursday. A 40-year-old Palestinian man was killed during a strike on northern Gaza and two members of his family were wounded. Palestinian hospital officials said the man died when a missile hit his house and a balcony collapsed on him.

The first strike had targeted a weapons factory operated by the Islamic Jihad militant group in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza and caused severe damage. The second hit an arms factory in Khan Yunis in south Gaza.

All aircraft and personnel returned to Israel safely. A 6-month-old Egyptian-mediated lull is set to expire on Friday and while Israel has said it would like to see it maintained, Hamas leaders have agreed not to renew the unwritten agreement.

Earlier on Wednesday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had stopped short of pledging retaliation for a surge of Qassam rockets that pelted the western Negev on Wednesday, saying "there can't be a situation where there is a truce, but the situation on the ground is very different."

"This demands a response, and there will be a response," he added.

There were no injuries or damages reported in any of the rocket attacks on Thursday. More than 40 rockets have been launched at Israel since Tuesday.

Militants fired 24 Qassams at southern Israel and 11 the day before. One rocket fired Wednesday struck a parking lot adjacent to a supermarket in the southern town of Sderot. Three people sustained shrapnel wounds and nine others were treated for shock.