Qassam Damages Sderot Homes; IDF Briefly Detains 4 in Gaza Raid

IAF strike kills senior Jihad militant; troops kill two Palestinian children near Gaza fence.

A Qassam rocket struck between two houses in the western Negev town of Sderot on Saturday morning, damaging property but causing no injuries. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

Also Saturday, Israel Defense Forces troops arrested four Palestinians in the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, security sources said. They said the four men were brothers, but did not give their affiliations.

The IDF said that four people had been taken in for questioning for firing rockets from Gaza into Israel, but all four had been released.

The strike came hours after the Israel Air Force killed a senior Palestinian militant on a motorcycle near the town of Khan Yunis Friday evening in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad militant group and the IDF said.

This was the first Palestinian death in an IAF air strike in the last three days. Islamic Jihad named the dead militant as Fadi Abu Mustafa.

An IDF spokeswoman said he was the target of the attack and that he was involved in actions against IDF troops in the Gaza Strip. According to security sources, Mustafa was also involved in planning suicide bombings in Israel, the radio reported.

Meanwhile, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal said his organization would be willing to stop firing rockets at Israel if Israel stops its targeted killings of Hamas militants, a senior Palestinian official told Israel Radio late Friday.

Earlier Friday, IAF aircraft and artillery struck two open areas in the northern Gaza Strip soon after Palestinians had fired rockets from the area toward Israel, the IDF said. No injuries were initially reported from the Israeli attacks. No Israelis were injured in the rocket attacks, the army said.

Also Friday, IDF troops shot dead two Palestinian children, aged 11 and 13, close to the ruins of the former settlement of Dugit, in the northern Gaza Strip.

An IDF spokeswoman said the two children and another 16-year-old were trying to place a bomb near the Gaza Strip border fence.

The army believes that they had been paid by one of the militant groups to place an explosive device.

"We know that a number of Palestinians crawled towards the border fence. They know that it is a dangerous area but they did not heed repeated calls to stop and they planted a suspicious device close to the fence," the spokeswoman said.

The 16-year-old, who was unarmed, was taken to an Israeli hospital for treatment, the IDF said.

Palestinian sources said that the three had been scavenging for scrap metal where they were fired upon by the soldiers.

Also Friday, three Qassam rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza, causing no injuries but damaging a building in one of the communities in the area.

In recent days, there has been a fall in the number of rocket launches, and the daily average currently stands at around five.