Israel has struck targets in the Gaza Strip after Palestinians fired rockets at southern Israel in what they said was a response to an Israel air strike on Sunday that killed one person and wounded several others.
The Israeli army said it had targeted "Hamas terror activity sites and terrorist squads responsible for the rocket fire" on Monday, but gave no further details.
Gaza hospital officials said one Islamic Jihad fighter thought to have been involved in Monday’s rocket attack had been wounded by Israeli tank fire east of the town of Rafah.
Residents of the town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip said an Israeli tank fired at the suspected launch area, wounding four children and damaging a mosque minaret and a water tower.
The armed wing of the Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad group fired a volley of rockets at Israel earlier on Monday, a day after an Israeli airstrike killed at least one person and injured nine others, including children.
According to the Israeli army, Sunday's air strike was aimed at two Palestinian fighters who were riding a motorcycle near Rafah when the attack occurred.
The Israeli military said the two men were members of "Global Jihadist" groups based in the Gaza Strip who had for years attacked Israeli civilians and troops and were also involved in weapons manufacturing.
The military named the two men as Talat Jarbi and Mohammed Maqawi.
Palestinian medical sources told the AFP news agency that Jarbi had lost both legs in Sunday's air strike.
"In response to the injury of civilians in the most recent strike on Rafah, the Qassam Brigades and the al-Quds Brigades fired a number of rockets at enemy military positions," Hamas's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing said in a statement.
It was the first time since June that Hamas had acknowledged launching rockets at Israel.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP news agency on Monday that a barrage of more than 20 rockets hit southern Israel early on Monday, causing very light damage and no injuries.
The remains of "19 rockets were found in the Ofakim area, specifically near the Eshkol regional council. All rockets landed in open areas, and one home was damaged by shrapnel," she said.
The Israeli army says 470 rockets have been fired from Gaza this year, 10 in October alone.
Israel and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have mostly observed an unwritten truce since Israel attacked the Gaza strip, where the Israeli military offensive named Operation Cast Lead killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, majority of them civilians, including 400 children.
Thirteen Israelis were also killed, three of them civilians.
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|William A. Cook|