Several dozens of rockets launched from Gaza hit Israeli towns after Israel killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a rare targeted strike in the Strip on Tuesday.
In the most serious escalation in months, an Israeli missile attack also targeted the home of an Islamic Jihad official in Damascus, killing two people including one of his sons, Syrian state media said. Israel declined to comment on that incident.
Residents of southern Israel, near Gaza border, spent most of the day in bomb shelters, as buildings and houses were damaged. Israeli hospitals reported several civilians with injuries.
Israel casts rising Gaza tensions as part of a regional struggle with Iran that has also played out in Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cited such scenarios in trying to form a coalition government with center-left rivals after two inconclusive elections this year.
The Israeli military said its Iron Dome air defense systems intercepted some of the Palestinian rockets.
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