IDF top brass meets over ongoing Gaza rocket fire

Terrorists fire thirteen rockets at Israel; Iron dome intercepts projectile fired at Ashdod; defense officials don't believe Hamas, Islamic Jihad behind rocket attacks.

Benny Gantz, helicopter_311 (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office)
Benny Gantz, helicopter_311
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office)
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz summoned the IDF top brass to discuss a response to the recent spike in rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Lt.-Col. Yair Naveh, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo, senior Israeli Air Force and Israel Navy officers were among the attending officers attending the meeting. RELATED:Hamas to Egypt: Pressure Israel over Gaza strikes IAF strikes tunnel used to infiltrate into Israel'Egypt working to restore Gaza, Israel calm'
The meeting was announced as terrorists in Gaza fired the eleventh rocket at Israel on Friday, shortly before 10:00 p.m. The projectile exploded in an open field in Sderot, causing no casualties or damage.
Two more rockets were fired after 11:00 p.m., at the Ashkelon Beach Regional Council and Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damages were reported.
According to Army Radio, defense officials believe that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not behind the attacks from Gaza. Instead, smaller terrorist groups are likely firing rockets at southern communities in Israel. Close to 9:00 p.m., the IDF Spokesperson's office said that ten rockets had been fired towards Israeli cities in the South, an area more than one million Israelis call home.
Three rockets exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council shortly after 8:00 p.m., and one was fired towards the Shaar Hangev Regional council. In the afternoon, an
Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system battery intercepted one projectile fired toward Ashdod. Two others were fired shortly after 5:00 p.m. towards the Be'er Tuvia Regional Council.  Air sirens rang in Ashdod and the surrounding areas minutes before. No one was injured and no damage was caused in the ensuing blasts. In the morning, tworockets exploded in the Ashkelon Beach Regional Council shortly after 12 p.m. and another in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council around 9 a.m. No damage or injuries were reported.Overnight, the Israel Air Force struck targets connected with terrorist activity in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets Thursday, the IDF Spokesman's Office said in a statement. IAF aircraft recorded direct hits on a center of terrorist activity in southern Gaza, as well as an additional terror target in northern Gaza.The IDF reiterated in the statement that it holds Hamas responsible for all terror activity emanating from Gaza. The IDF maintained that it will continue to respond forcefully to attacks on Israeli citizens.According to Hamas-affiliated news site Al Resalah, a 12-year-old boy died from wounds suffered during an IDF strike on a northern Gaza target.
Palestinian medical sources said that one other civilian was killed and 13 others were wounded, including women and children, in the air strikes.
The IDF said Friday that it regretted any harm to uninvolved civilians, which it said was caused by the presence of explosives and weapons at the targeted sites, including rockets. The airstrikes, the IDF Spokesman said in a statement, were accurate and direct hits on terror targets were recorded.
The statement laid responsibility for the casualties on Hamas, "which chooses to operate in the heart of civilian population centers and uses human shields."
The earlier Palestinian rocket attacks on the South came in response to a previous Israel Air Force strike which killed two suspected terrorists traveling in a car near Gaza City.
The IDF said the men had been in the midst of plotting an attack against Israel to be launched from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.Anticipating retaliation, the army raised the level of alert along the Gaza border and warned southern residents to remain indoors. Eight rockets were fired Thursday, but no casualties or damage were reported in any of the attacks.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.