Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip fired 10 rockets into Israel in two separate barrages on Friday night, the army said. One projectile slammed into a house in the town of Sderot, while the Iron Dome system intercepted eight and the tenth fell in open ground.
The army responded several hours later with strikes on several terror targets in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Palestinian media reported that several airstrikes targeted training sites and outposts affiliated with Hamas and other groups.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said three men sustained moderate or serious shrapnel wounds from one of the airstrikes.
In the early hours of Saturday, sirens again sounded in Sderot and the village of Ibim. The IDF later attributed the sirens to “non-rocket fire” from Gaza into Israel.
During the earlier barrage, a 65-year-old woman was lightly hurt when she fell while running toward a shelter, medics said. Five people were treated for anxiety.
The attack was one of the largest in recent months and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, was in contact with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and coordinating a response, officials said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Gaza, but Israel routinely holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any violence emanating from the Strip.
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Warning sirens had gone off in the town of Sderot and in other Israeli communities along the Gaza border as many families were eating Friday night Shabbat dinner.
The IDF said 7 rockets were fired in that barrage, all of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.
About an hour later another three rockets were fired into Israel and Iron Dome intercepted one. One of the rockets hit the home, causing serious damage but no injuries.
“There was a huge explosion,” one of the residents of the house told the Walla news site. “Luckily we were in the shelter; there is a lot of damage.”
The last rocket apparently fell in an open area.
Immediately after the first salvo was fired, an IDF tank shelled a Hamas observation post in Gaza, Palestinian and Hebrew-language media reported.
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Yaron Sasson, a spokesman for the Sderot municipality, said there had been no warnings ahead of time.
“This was a complete surprise after a few months of quiet,” he told Israel Radio. “But again we have residents running for bomb shelters during the Friday night Shabbat meal,” he said.
Sasson recommended residents remain close to bomb shelters and said emergency workers were carrying out searches to make sure there were no casualties.
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The rocket barrages came a day after a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open field. There were no reports of injuries or damage in Thursday’s attack.
The Iron Dome air defense system was activated and an interceptor projectile was launched, the army said in a statement, but it apparently missed its target.
The IDF said a tank and fighter jets subsequently launched retaliatory strikes on two Hamas posts in the northern Strip.
The Gaza-based Shehab news agency reported that Israeli security forces fired at a jeep belonging to operatives in the border area, near Beit Lahia.
On Tuesday, Israeli fighter jets shot down a drone that was flying at an “irregular altitude” over Gaza, the IDF said.