Israeli planes struck what the military described as four “terror infrastructure” targets in the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday in response to a rocket that landed 20 miles inside the country the previous evening.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said the strikes were a message to the militant group Hamas to curb any aggression against Israeli civilians originating from the area under its control. Hamas controls Gaza.
“The reality that Hamas’ territory is used as a staging ground to attack Israel is unacceptable and intolerable and will bear consequences," Lerner said in a statement. "Israel cannot be expected to live in the perpetual fear of rocket attacks."
Sirens had sounded Tuesday throughout communities in southern Israel as a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel, according to the military.
No injuries were reported.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility on the part of any Palestinian organization but Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lerner said.
Hamas reportedly ordered its facilities cleared late Tuesday, anticipating a possible Israeli retaliation for the rocket attack.
As a precaution, the city of Ashdod announced that only schools sufficiently rocket-proofed would be open Wednesday and the neighboring community of Gan Yavneh, where the rocket struck Tuesday, began opening its public bomb shelters.
Sobelman is a special correspondent.