A Qassam being fired from Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip, 2008.
A Qassam being fired from Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip, 2008. Photo by Eliahu Ben-Yigal
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Two of the nine mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Tuesday were actually phosphorous bombs, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed.

Militants in the coastal territory also fired two Qassam rockets into Israel, yielding an Israel Air Force strike in response that led to the death of one Palestinian working in a smuggling tunnel on the border with Egypt.

One of the rockets fired from Gaza exploded in an open area in the industrial zone just south of Ashkelon. There were no injuries or property damage. The nine mortar shells struck an open area in the Eshkol region near the Gaza Strip.

Hours later, eyewitnesses in the southern Gaza town of Rafah said the Israeli air strike killed a tunnel worker and wounded two other people. The Israeli army confirmed the attack.

There was also a fear of renewed violence across the border in Jordan, with the U.S. embassy in the country warning of a high chance of terror attacks in the Red Sea city of Aqaba over the coming 48 hours.

The increased attacks from Gaza were apparently made in attempt to scupper Middle East peace talks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hosting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his official residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday, a day after meeting in Egypt to continue the direct peace talks that began earlier this month.

Hamas, which control the Gaza strip, have condemned the talks and early this month timed a pair of West Bank shooting attacks to coincide with the opening of negotiations in Washington, killing four Israelis and wounding two.