Text size

Israel Air Force aircraft bombed smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border on Wednesday after two rockets hit southern Israel, the army said.

"We attacked seven tunnels near the [southern Gaza town of] Rafah. There were secondary explosions, showing they contained weapons material," the spokeswoman said.

"It was a response to two Qassam rocket attacks today and continued rocket fire."

The Qassam rockets struck the Sha'ar Hanegev region in the western Negev on Wednesday. There were no reports of casualties in either incident.

Egypt has been trying to broker a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of a 22-day offensive that the Israel Defense Forces launched in the territory on Dec. 27.

Since the end of the operation, Palestinians have been rebuilding a network of tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt frontier used for smuggling in goods and weapons.

Israel tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip after Hamas Islamists took control in 2007. Egypt also limits movement through its border crossing with the territory.

On Monday, an Israel Air Force helicopter on Monday attacked a group of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip as they attempted to flee the border area where they had been planting explosives aimed against Israel Defense Forces troops.

The Israeli soldiers stationed near the Kissufim border crossing opened fire on the militants laying the explosives, and the IAF subsequently bombed the militants' car as they tried to escape.

Neither the soldiers nor the militants sustained any casualties.

Shortly after the incident, a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza exploded in an open field in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. Later Monday afternoon, another rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into the same area. There were no casualties or damages reported in either incident.