Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to take "strong action" against the Gaza Strip after a rocket from Gaza slammed into an Israeli home in Beersheba before dawn on Wednesday. The military explained in a tweet that the prevented launch had nonetheless triggered sirens in the country's south, indicating possible new shelling from the Gaza Strip.
Since the end of March, the Islamist terror organization has organized weekly violence along the border between Gaza and Israel and attacked the Israeli communities there with incendiary balloons and kites.
Israeli fighter jets struck targets in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday after a rocket was sacked and hit a home in southern Israel.
"Tonight, a large portion of southern Israel's population was put under immediate danger as Gazan terrorists fired a rocket at Beer Sheva (Beersheva)", IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said in a statement.
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"In response to the rockets fired from #Gaza at #Israel overnight, IDF fighter jets have started attacking terror targets in Gaza", the IDF wrote on its Twitter page.
Israel's military chief cut short a visit to the United States and was returning home, and schools were to be shut in Beersheba for the day, the reports said.
On Wednesday morning the Code Red alarm sounded again in the region close to the northern Gaza border.
Meanwhile, an Islamic Jihad leader, Khader Habib, told CNN that the militant group remains committed to the truce between Gaza and Israel but added that if strikes continue in Gaza that "the resistance will certainly not stand idly by".
A Hamas soldier prays amid the rubble of a destroyed military base after Israeli airstrikes October 17 in the town of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.
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Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past decade and fighting has flared up on several occasions recently, though neither side appears to be interested in another full-blown war.
Halevi's warning to Hamas came hours after Netanyahu vowed Israel would "act forcefully" in response to violence from Gaza.
Hamas seeks a cease-fire with Israel to secure an easing of the blockade but accuses its West Bank rivals, Fatah, of thwarting the effort. One Israeli soldier was killed by sniper fire in July. Palestinian media reported seven killed.
Hamas clearly misinterpreted Israel's willingness to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza and apparently thought it was the beginning of Israel's capitulation.
Some 155 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more have been injured in the clashes with IDF troops, according to AP figures; Hamas has acknowledged that dozens of the dead were its members.
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Egypt, along with the United Nations, are now working to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah as well as a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants.