JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas has claimed responsibility for firing 10 long-range missiles into southern Israel.
Hamas said Tuesday evening that its armed wing, Izzaddin al-Kassam, fired 10 Grad missiles into Israel in the afternoon. At least 40 rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel on Tuesday.
Hamas also took responsibility for firing several rockets late Monday night that landed in Ashkelon but did not cause any damage or injuries. The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that the rockets were targeting a nearby military base. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.
Following the attack, the Israeli Air Force fired early Tuesday morning on what it called a terrorist cell planting explosives near Israel’s border with Gaza. Ma’an reported that two 16-year-old boys were killed in the strike.
At least 40 rockets have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza on Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces said. Residents of communities near the Gaza border have been put on high alert and told to stay close to bomb shelters.
The attacks followed an escalating series of cross-border attacks Monday between Israel and alleged Palestinian terrorists in which four Palestinians were killed.
On Monday evening, two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on what the military said was a terrorist rocket-launching squad. The strike came after two rockets were launched from Gaza and landed in southern Israel, causing no injuries or damage.
On Monday morning, Israel’s Air Force fired on what it called a terrorist squad of snipers operating near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip.
Two Palestinian men were killed and four were injured in the earlier Monday strikes, according to the Ma’an news service, which identified the casualties, in their 20s, as members of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades. Ma’an said they were “en route to take part in a militant operation” against Israeli soldiers.
The IDF said in a statement that the squad killed in Monday morning’s action was among those responsible for recent sniper attacks along Israel’s security fence with Gaza, including one late last week in which snipers fired on an Israeli farmer working in his fields near Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel.
Military sources said the incident was not related to Monday’s attack on the Israel-Egypt border in which one civilian was killed and two terrorists shot dead.
Overnight Sunday, Israeli aircraft hit what the military said was a weapons manufacturing facility in southern Gaza and a terror activity site in central Gaza. Five Palestinians, including a woman and child, were injured in the attacks.
The sites were targeted in response to the rocket fire toward southern Israel, the IDF said. This year, more than 275 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, Israel’s military said.