The Israeli Air Force early Thursday morning struck three terror sites in the Gaza Strip, responding to a barrage of mortar shells fired Wednesday night in which one Israeli man was wounded.

The IDF spokesperson said that the air strikes targeted a weapons facility in central Gaza and two centers of terrorist activity in the northern Strip.

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Four to five mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into the Eshkol regional council Wednesday night, hitting an area resident. He suffered light wounds to his upper body.

The wounded man was airlifted by the IDF to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba while fully conscious. The attack followed another mortar attack in Sha'ar Hanegev. There were no injuries in the earlier attack.

Earlier on Wednesday, Southern regional councils situated near the border with the Gaza Strip released a joint statement following yet more mortar and rocket attacks on the area from Gaza.

"Escalation is only a matter of time. The threat in the area is constant and growing," the statement said. "We hope that the government will know how to relate to this reality, before formulating policy for the southern line of conflict for 2011. The government must realize that this will be an active line of conflict for the foreseeable future."

The statement came after a home in a kibbutz located in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council was damaged by a Palestinian mortar shell fired from Gaza on Wednesday.

"This is only the latest in a series of security incidents," the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council said. "In recent weeks these incidents have risen greatly, and we are now being shelled on a near-daily basis."

Also on Wednesday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned that the security situation at the Gaza Strip border is very fragile and may deteriorate rapidly, Army Radio reported.

"The IDF must be ready to operate in a broader manner that what it has in the past," Ashkenazi said at a Hanukka candle lighting ceremony with IDF troops from the 202nd Paratroop Battalion near the Strip.

"Recently, there have been a lot of incidents near the border fence and the combat in the area will continue," he added.


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