The IAF struck three rocket-launching cells in the northern and southern Gaza Strip late Tuesday after a volley of rockets and mortar shells fell in the Eshkol region earlier. Hamas said that three of its operatives were killed in the strikes, and another three were injured.

Palestinian terrorists fired 34 rockets and mortars into southern Israel overnight Tuesday, sending local residents fleeing for cover. One resident said that a house was damaged in the barrage. Twenty of the projectiles landed in the Eshkol region while 14 landed in the Lachish region.

Air raid sirens went off during the attacks and local residents fled for cover. No one was injured.

Earlier Tuesday, Palestinian terrorists detonated an explosive on the Gaza-Israel border, seriously injuring an IDF company commander.

The explosive was placed on a gate in the Kissufim region, near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

Army paramedics provided first aid to the officer, before airlifting him, in very serious condition, to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba. Doctors battled to stabilize him.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that Israel’s response to the bomb attack would be “very hard,” while  Defense Minister Ehud Barak characterized the attack as a “severe incident.”

The Kissufim region, which borders central Gaza, has become a daily combat zone between Hamas and its affiliated terror groups and the IDF.

Palestinian factions regularly plant bombs along the border, fire mortars at army positions, and terrorize Israeli farmers with rocket attacks.

Earlier this year, St.-Sgt. Natanel Moshiashvili was killed in a gunbattle with Palestinian terrorists who infiltrated Israel from Gaza.

Last week saw an escalation in hostilities on the Gaza front, with dozens of rockets falling on southern Israel and the IAF striking centers of terror activity in response.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report

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