Ten rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in southern Israel Monday, prompting Israeli retaliatory strikes on the Hamas-controlled territory.
Red alert sirens sounded Monday morning in Sderot and the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, adjacent to the Palestinian enclave.
Seven rockets fell in open areas in the Sha’ar Hanegev region and outside the city of Sderot, causing no injuries or damage. One rocket exploded in Sderot, causing damage to a road and several shops.
Another rocket struck the Eshkol region of southern Israel, but regional officials said the warning sirens did not go off.
According to Army Radio, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted an inbound rocket as well.
A police spokesman said police bomb disposal experts were searching for the remains of the projectiles.
The IDF dispatched two attack helicopters to the northern Gaza Strip to identify the source of the rocket fire and the choppers fired “warning shots” into the Strip.
Later on Monday, the Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, hitting targets in Khan Younis, Nasirat and Deir al-Balah. According to the IDF, Israeli aircraft struck two “terror activity sites” in the southern Gaza Strip and a third in the central Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire. The IDF said direct hits were confirmed.
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that one government security agent was hurt in an IAF strike in the central Gaza Strip.
Earlier in the morning, a Gaza-based terrorist group launched a rocket-propelled grenade at an IDF patrol near the security fence east of the city of Deir al-Balah. According to the Palestinian Safa news agency, the rocket missed its target, and the Israeli soldiers returned fire.
The IDF confirmed that an army patrol identified an RPG fired in its general direction, but said the soldiers did not fire back.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either of the attacks.
According to the IDF, terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip have fired at least 108 rockets and mortars into Israel since the beginning of 2014.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner responded to the escalation of hostilities in southern Israel saying that it was the IDF’s “obligation to seek out and target those who wish to attack our civilians and soldiers and to eliminate their capabilities. Hamas rocket terrorism is an intolerable reality Israelis should not have to accept.”