Dozens of rockets from Gaza strike southern Israel
Published Wednesday 12/03/2014 (updated) 13/03/2014 12:00
The site of a rocket strike in Sderot (MaanImages).
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Wednesday, a day after an Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinian militants in the coastal enclave.
The al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the operation, which it has named "Breaking the Silence."
The group said that it had launched 90 rockets into Israel on Wednesday, saying: "The response has begun to the crimes of the occupation, the latest of which was the killing of three members" of the group on Tuesday.
An Israeli military source said that eight rockets had fallen in residential areas, causing property damage but without resulting in any injuries.
Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman told an Israeli television channel that there was no option other than completely re-occupying the Gaza Strip, arguing that after two wide-scale military operations "Israeli towns and cities" are still under fire from the Gaza Strip.
The residents of southern Israeli towns and cities cannot remain under the the threat of "terrorist" organizations, he added.
An Israeli source said that crews had found the fragments of nearly 57 rockets. The source also said that the Iron Dome missile-defense system had intercepted three rockets.
According to Israeli reports, rockets landed in open areas near the town of Sderot and near residential areas.
A senior Israeli security source told AFP that 50 rockets had been launched toward Israel and that the rockets had not ceased, but that there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Warning sirens sounded in Israeli towns and cities near the border.
An Israeli officer told Israeli army radio that "we haven't seen such a barrage (of rockets) in the last two years."
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that "damage" had been caused but not injuries, and that "police units" were searching "open areas."
A day earlier, an Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said.
The three resistance fighters were killed by the airstrike in southeast Khan Younis near the Sufa crossing.
The al-Quds Brigades said at the time that the militants were affiliated to the group.
"They were in confrontation with the occupation trying to stop the progress of Israeli military vehicles which were approaching the area," the statement said.
The Israeli army said in a statement that "terrorists affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the southern Gaza Strip fired a mortar shell at IDF forces."
"An IAF aircraft responded immediately in order to prevent further attacks on Israeli civilians and targeted the terrorist squad. Direct hits were confirmed, the army statement said.
Also Tuesday morning, an Israeli drone fell in the area of the attack.
The airstrikes came just hours after Palestinian security sources said a man died after Israeli soldiers fired at him while he was driving near the West Bank city of Tulkarem.
The Israeli army also killed two Palestinians in the West Bank on Monday.
Israeli soldiers shot and killed 18-year-old Saji Darwish near Ramallah late Monday, after he allegedly threw stones at Israeli vehicles.
Earlier, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian-Jordanian judge at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan.