Hamas outposts hit by IAF after grad fired on Negev

Attacks come after rocket falls on Beersheba causing damage with residents treated for shock; no casualties reported.

Grad rocket in Beersheba 311 (photo credit: Yasser Okbi/Israel Post)
Grad rocket in Beersheba 311
(photo credit: Yasser Okbi/Israel Post)
The IAF late Wednesday night attacked several terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip in response to grad rockets that hit Beersheba and the Negev earlier in the evening. The IAF confirmed direct hits.
Palestinians reported numerous IAF attacks every hour from midnight to 5 a.m. Thursday morning. Hamas outposts in uninhabited areas were attacked, as well as weapons arsenals and smuggling tunnels, reported Army Radio. Palestinian sources also said targets near refugee camps and in Khan Younis and Rafah were attacked.
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman late night Wednesday instructed the Israeli UN delegation to submit a complaint to the UN Security Council and General Assembly over the grad rocket attacks. "Israel will not remain indifferent to these acts," Lieberman stressed in his statement.
The grad-model Katyusha rocket struck the Negev city on Wednesday night, the first such attack on the city since Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip over two years ago.The IDF responded harshly to the attacks. In an initial response late Wednesday, the IAF attacked an Islamic Jihad cell east of Gaza City, reportedly wounding three gunmen.
Shortly afterward, the Air Force attacked military targets throughout the Gaza Strip, causing heavy damage to buildings.
Palestinian witnesses reported a "constant noise of fighter jets over Gaza."
The IDF confirmed the attack and said that direct targets were identified and that the attacks were carried out in response to the rocket fire.
The rocket landed in a courtyard near a villa in Beersheba at about 8.45 p.m., causing extensive damage to homes in the area but no casualties.
Sirens went off throughout the city just seconds before the rocket struck.
Four residents – two adults and two children – were treated for shock.
“I heard a siren, then a boom, and everything in my house just shook,” a woman named Zehava told Israel Radio. “It was terrible.”
“We’ve been through worse, and we’ll get through this, too,” said Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich.
“Thank God, no one was hurt because everyone in the area entered protected rooms.”
Another rocket hit the Netivot area a short time later, causing no harm.
Security officials said Hamas was ultimately responsible for the rocket attacks, even if it had not actually fired them.
Earlier in the day, six mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip struck the Sdot Negev region, according to the IDF Spokesman’s Office. They caused no casualties or damage.
Violence erupts along Gaza border
Violence erupted along the Gaza border a day after new Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz made his first visit to the Southern Command.
Clashes began in the morning after a roadside bomb detonated next to an IDF patrol along the border. Mortar shells were then fired into the western Negev. None of the soldiers was wounded, and the IDF responded with tank fire in the direction of the terrorists.
Gaza health officials said 11 people were wounded, one of whom died of his wounds on Wednesday night.
Islamic Jihad and Hamas took responsibility for the attacks.
The IDF said that since the beginning of the year, soldiers had discovered a dozen improvised explosive devices along the Gaza border fence. Two such devices were discovered on Tuesday in the southern Gaza Strip and destroyed by army sappers.
On Tuesday, Gantz visited the Gaza Division and met with OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo for briefings on the situation in the Strip.
The IDF is concerned that the instability in Sinai will lead to an increase in the quantity and quality of weaponry and explosives that Hamas smuggles into Gaza via tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor.
“The quiet along the border with Gaza is important for the residents of the nearby communities,” Gantz said on Tuesday. “At the same time, the units need to be prepared for any possible scenario.”
Meanwhile, a large explosion in the southern Gaza Strip killed a 10-yearold girl and wounded two others.
Hamas said it was investigating the cause of the blast.
Explosions are common in Gaza. They often take place in the homes of terrorists, when explosives and other armaments detonate prematurely.