Palestinians in Gaza fired a salvo of rockets at the border town of Sderot on Saturday evening, with two of the rockets hitting a home and a synagogue. Three Israelis were moderately wounded.
The Magen David Adom rescue service said the three wounded were a 52-year-old man with a chest injury due to shrapnel, and two girls, aged 14 and 15, with limb injuries.
They were evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for emergency medical treatment.
The rocket that injured them landed on the roof of a home in the town. It hit a reinforced bomb shelter in the building, limiting the damage. The second rocket hit a synagogue that was empty at the time.
Several other rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome.
A 45-year-old Israeli woman who suffered from anxiety was also evacuated to the hospital.
Over the weekend, Palestinians fired dozens of rockets into Israel and the IDF attacked more than 40 targets in the Strip, in the most extensive daytime assault since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza reported that two teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were killed in an IDF strike Saturday on a structure which the Israeli army said was situated over an attack tunnel in Gaza.
“IDF fighter planes attacked a high-rise building in the Shatti refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, which served as a training facility for the Hamas terrorist organization,” the IDF said of the strike in a statement. “An attack tunnel was dug under the building, which was used for underground fighting training. This tunnel is part of a network of underground tunnels dug by the Hamas terrorist organization throughout the Gaza Strip.”
Fourteen people have been wounded across Gaza, the Hamas-run health ministry said.
Palestinian sources reported that the IDF conducted several more strikes in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday evening.
According to unconfirmed reports in Gaza, by late afternoon Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials had ordered their operatives to halt all rocket fire. Nevertheless, just minutes after those reports circulated, a projectile fired in the direction of Kibbutz Alumim near Nahal Oz was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Sirens were also heard in the Eshkol region in southern Israel and in Ashkelon in the evening. No injuries or damage were reported on the Israeli side.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding ongoing consultations Saturday with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, and other senior security officials to review the developing situation surrounding the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s political leadership was considering a range of possibilities for trying to halt the rocket fire, including targeted assassinations of Hamas terror chiefs, the use of ground forces, and a ceasefire mediated by Egypt and/or others, but no decision had been made as of Saturday late afternoon, Hadashot TV news reported.
Egyptian sources said Cairo was working to prevent a further escalation and towards mediating a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian terror groups, the Walla news site reported.
Also Saturday, Nikolai Mladinov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, reportedly held talks with several Israeli and Egyptian officials in an attempt to restore calm to the region.
During the night, Palestinians fired more than 30 projectiles into Israel and kept up the attacks on Saturday, firing a further 60 rockets and mortar shells. Residents of Israeli border communities spent the night in bomb shelters and were cautioned to remain close to the shelters during the day.
After midnight Friday-Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces hit an attack tunnel and Hamas training bases in Gaza in response to the moderate wounding of an IDF officer by a hand-grenade thrown during a border riot on Friday.
The IDF said Iron Dome intercepted 20 projectiles in total that were headed for residential areas.
Hamas on Saturday said the barrage of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory overnight was fired by the “resistance” to “stop Israeli escalation.”
The spokesman for the terrorist group, Fawzi Barhoum, also said the projectiles were an “immediate response” that was meant to “deliver the message” to Israel.
The army said it held Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza, which the terror group has ruled since 2007.