Smoke trails of rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza Strip.
Smoke trails of rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza Strip towards Israel (archive photo). Photo by AP
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Four rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in southern Israel on Thursday evening. IDF struck several targets in the Strip shortly after.

No one was wounded by the rockets, which landed in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council in the western Negev. Palestinians reported two were wounded by the Israeli air strike: a 30-year-old man and a one-year-old child.

Rocket alert sirens sounded in Sderot and the Sha'ar Hanegev at about 9:30 P.M. It is believed the rockets landed in Israeli territory. However, traces of them have yet been found. Military forces are combing the area.

Within a few hours, IDF aircraft struck several targets in the northern Gaza Strip in response. The IDF spokesman said Israel Air Force aircraft hit five targets in the Strip, and reported direct hits.

Responsibility for the missile attack lies squarely upon Hamas, the IDF spokesman said in a statement, saying it "will continue to act forcefully and decisively against any who utilize terror against the State of Israel."

Three weeks ago, Israel Defense Forces and Gaza militants exchanged heavy fire over a period of several days. More than 70 rockets were fired from the Strip in a single day on March 14. The Israel Air Force responded with a series of strikes against dozens of targets within the Strip.

The March escalation began after Islamic Jihad militants opened fire at IDF troops engaged working in the so-called "perimeter area," a 100-meter-wide belt along the Palestinian side off the fence. Israeli aircraft struck the militants, killing three of them.

According to the Egyptian-mediated understandings agreed upon by Israel and the Hamas after the end of Pillar of Defense, the IDF is allowed to work unhindered within the perimeter. Most of its action there is unearthing of IEDs which might endanger IDF troops moving along the Israeli side.

Islamic Jihad responded to the killing of its men with heavy missile fire, to which Israel reacted aggressively. Only some two days later was a ceasefire reached, through Egyptian mediation.