Barrage of Rockets Hits Southern Israel; IDF Kills Islamic Jihad Member in Gaza

Toddler lightly injured after rocket hits private car; Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Be'er Sheva after member of Islamic Jihad killed in IDF strike, IAF strikes three Gaza sites in response.

IAF aircraft targeted two militants in separate locations on Wednesday in northern Gaza, who had launched projectiles at Israel shortly before, the IDF said in a statement.

The military branch of Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks later on Wednesday night, saying that they were a response to the killing of an Islamic Jihad operative, Ismael al-Asmar, early on Wednesday morning, according to a report by Israel Radio.

Gaza - AP - August 24, 2011

Palestinian sources reported on Wednesday evening that a member of the Islamic Jihad was killed by an IDF strike in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in the Gaza Strip. Shortly afterwards a Grad rocket was launched toward Be'er Sheva and was intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

The IDF Home Front Command called on residents of Eshkol and Sha'ar Hanegev to remain indoors, and announced the cancellation of the "Breeze" music festival that was due to take place Wednesday evening. The announcement came only two hours after the Home Front Command said residents can return to their daily routine.

Also on Wednesday, security officials said that the Islamic Jihad operative who was killed in an IAF airstrike early Wednesday morning was responsible for transfer of funds used in last Thursday's attacks.

The operative was identified as 34-year-old Ismael al-Asmar. Security officials said that the decision was made to target al-Asmar due to intelligence that he was planning to initiate another attack from Sinai in the coming days.

Al-Asmar was targeted while he was in a vehicle in the western part of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. One additional person was wounded.

Later on Wednesday morning, two mortar shells fired from Gaza exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing light damage but no injuries.