The Israel Air Force on early Tuesday morning struck a terrorist cell which was in the process of planting an explosive device near the border with Central Gaza.

The IAF confirmed a direct hit on the terrorist target in what was the third airstrike in twenty four hours.

The airstrike followed a continuing escalation between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

Only hours before the latest airstrike, terror groups fired two rockets, one at Sderot and one into the Ashkelon Regional Council area. Neither rocket caused casualties or damage.

The airstrike did not calm the rocket barrages, as following that attack another four rockets were fired from Gaza in to Israel, failing to cause damage or injury.

Previously, on Monday, the IAF struck targets in the Gaza Strip in a series of airstrikes against what the military said were Islamic Jihad operatives engaged in anti-Israel terror activity.

The first airstrike occurred in the early afternoon just hours after the attack from Sinai which killed an Israeli construction worker. IDF sources said that the strikes were not connected to the attack.

In the first strike, an IAF aircraft targeted a motorbike, killing two Islamic Jihad men who were part of a terror cell responsible for recent shooting attacks along the border.

In late May, an IDF officer and soldier were shot and wounded by a sniper and last week, shots were fired at an Israeli farmer working in his field near the border.

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency identified the men as Muhammad Shabat and Ismael Abu Ouda in their 20s. It said that both were members of Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades and were on their way to perpetrate an attack against Israel.

The second airstrike took place Monday evening when aircraft bombed a group of Palestinians, who the military said were preparing to launch a rocket into Israel in the northern Gaza Strip. Two Palestinians, both believe to be Islamic Jihad operatives, were killed.

Following the airstrikes, the IDF continued to maintain a high alert along the border with Gaza in expectation that Islamic Jihad will try to retaliate to the killing of four of its operatives.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this story.

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