The IDF's Iron Dome rocket defense system on Wednesday intercepted the first rocket in the recent escalation in the past three days. The system intercepted a rocket in the Netivot area.
Palestinians have fired over 70 rockets into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip since Monday, as the IDF continued to respond with airstrikes, the latest being Wednesday evening when the IAF struck two terror camps in the northern Gaza Strip.
Early in the day on Wednesday, the Israeli Air Force attacked and killed a global jihad terrorist in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. The IDF said the man was involved in the terrorist attack that emanated from the Sinai Peninsula on Monday. One of the central planners of the attack was seriously injured.
The air strike was a joint operation of the Air Force and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), who said the killing was a confirmation of the declaration of responsibility issued Tuesday by the previously unknown global jihad organization.
The defense establishment is particularly concerned with the development and growing presence of global jihad and al-Qaida-affiliated organizations in the Gaza Strip, some of which are made up of former Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas members. Others, it said, come from Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Mohammed Rashuan was seriously injured in the airstrike. Rashuan, 26 of Rafah, was one of the central players in the border attack Monday, the IDF said. He was involved in attacks on Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers for a number of years.
Rashuan was involved in the procurement of weapons, providing explosives to terror operatives, the firing of projectiles into Israel, sniper attacks, and the smuggling of terror operatives in and out of the Gaza Strip.
A second man, Ghalib Rmelat, a deputy of Rashuan, was killed in the airstrike. Hamas identified him as an operative in Islamic Jihad's Al Quds Brigades.
Moments before the airstrike, Hamas fired six rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Eshkol region of southern Israel. Four of the rockets landed inside a farming village and two exploded in an open field. Hamas's military wing, the Izzadin a-Kassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire and said in a video it released that the fire was in response to the killing of Palestinians by the IDF.
Police said that no one was injured. Three women were suffering shock from the rocket and that the rocket caused damage to buildings and sparked a fire.
Palestinian sources claimed that a 14-year-old boy was killed in a subsequent IAF strike in Gaza City. The IDF confirmed that a second strike was carried out, but could not confirm if anyone was killed.
Since midnight Wednesday morning, Palestinians have fired more than 40 rockets into southern Israel.
Earlier Wednesday morning, Palestinian terror groups fired a Grad rocket into Israeli territory that exploded in the Bnei Shimon region near Beersheba. The rocket exploded in an open area, causing no injuries or damage. Shortly after, three Kassam rockets exploded in open areas in the Eshkol region.
Late Tuesday night, four Border Policemen in the Ashkelon Coast area were injured by shrapnel, one moderately, when a Kassam rocket directly struck a building, after nearly 50 rockets and mortar shells pounded southern Israel.
IAF aircraft struck seven terror targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday in response to the continued rocket and mortar fire into southern Israel, according to the IDF Spokesman's Office. Palestinians did not immediately report any injuries or deaths resulting from the IAF strikes although at least six were killed in strikes since Monday.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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