IDF tanks fired at terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip this evening, one in its north and another in its south, in response to the barrage of at least 60 rockets fired at the Israeli south earlier.
Residents in the Beit Chanoun area of Gaza said they saw an Israeli strike hit a rocket launcher squad.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from the rocket fire, but a 57-year-old woman from Sderot was lightly injured while running to take cover. The Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepted at least three rockets over Sderot.
This was the heaviest barrage of rockets fired from the Strip since the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense.
The rockets were fired from both the north of the Strip and its south. Most of the rockets fell in open fields, at least eight fell inside southern communities. The Eshkol Regional Council reported on at least 15 rockets that fell in its area, including one that fell inside one of the towns but did not explode.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said one rocket exploded near a gas station and another near a public library.
The Islamic Jihad’s military wing claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, saying its a response to the death of three of their men, who were killed Tuesday in an IAF strike after firing mortar shells at IDF troops. Another Gaza militant group, the Popular Resistance Committees, said they fired several rockets as well.
“The Al-Quds Brigades responded to aggression by a salvo of rockets,” a statement from the Islamic Jihad said.
“The Al-Quds Brigades will not break the truce (with Israel), but will retain the right to respond to the Zionist aggression at the right time and the right place,” spokesman Abu Ahmad said.
The Islamic Jihad, that said it fired 90 rockets, took advantage of the stormy weather when the IDF’s ability to identify and intercept rocket fire is lower.
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who is currently in the United States, was receiving constant updates from Deputy Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.
‘Code Red’ sirens were heard in throughout the western Negev communities, including Sderot, Netivot and in the Shaar HaNegev and Sdot Negev Regional Councils.
Security forces were scanning the area for rockets, and the level of alert has been raised. Residents in the area were instructed to stay in their shelters and secure rooms.
“It appears that a rocket salvo came in response to the preventative IAF strike yesterday. we will continue stopping attacks and hitting those who wish to harm us, and will act against them with full force,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook shortly after the rockets barrage.
“The number of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in the last year has been the lowest in a decade, but this is not enough for us. We will continue acting to ensure the security of the people of Israel both in the south and across the country,” he added. Read more at Ynet.