F-16i fighter jet.
F-16i fighter jet.Israel News photo (IAF website)

IDF pilots struck six smuggling tunnels in Gaza late Wednesday afternoon in retaliation for mortar attacks on the Sha'ar HaNegev region near the Gaza security barrier, and a rocket attack aimed at Ashkelon earlier in the day.

All five mortar shells exploded in a field in the Sha'ar HaNegev municipal council area, located in the western Negev. Hamas terrorists said they fired the mortars at IDF soldiers who they claimed were about to enter Gaza. No one was injured and there were no reports of damage in any of the attacks.

Towards the end of the afternoon, terrorists launched a short range (‘Kassam’) missile towards the coastal city of Ashkelon. The rocket landed within the Hof Ashkelon area. No casualties or damage were reported. The ‘Color Red’ siren sounded and residents of the area entered bomb shelters.

IAF warplanes retaliated with targeted air strikes late Wednesday afternoon, firing missiles at three weapons-smuggling tunnels underneath the Philadelphi Corridor, destroying them. The IDF said that it identified accurate hits on target. Local sources reported that four terrorists were hurt.

The Israeli security establishment released statistics indicating that April was the quietest month on the Gaza front since the end of Operation Cast Lead. Six short-range rockets and two mortar shells were lobbed at Israel during April, compared with 73 in March and 88 in February.

According to the IDF, approximately 670 Kassam rockets, mortar shells and Grad missiles were fired at Israel since the beginning of 2009.

There were 12 attempts to attack IDF forces in April, compared with 72 in March and 68 in February.

There were 57 terror attacks in Judea and Samaria compared to 46 in March. Most of the attacks were firebomb attacks against moving vehicles.