Rocket victim at Soroka Hospital
Rocket victim at Soroka HospitalFlash 90

Hamas and allied terrorist groups take to heart the Qatari emir’s call for “resistance” and pummeled southern Israel with more than 50 rockets and mortar shells, wounding several people, two of them seriously, and scoring direct hits on three homes.

At least two of the wounded were reported to be foreign agricultural workers. An Army helicopter evauated the wounded to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. A third sufered light injuries, and dozens suffered shock and trauma.

The Iron Dome system operated shortly after 7 a.m. to down a Grad missile headed towards the port city of Ashkelon. Schools were closed in several Gaza Belt areas.

The IDF retaliated immediately, killing one terrorist and wounding another in an aerial strike on Rafiah at the southern tip of Gaza.

Hamas appears to be trying to prove that its rocket launching capability is stronger than IDF counterterrorist operations that are able to target terrorists when caught in the act of preparing to launch Kassam missiles.

The latest attacks came less than a day after the visiting emir of oil-rich Qatar incited Gaza residents by saying during his visit, “There is no clear strategy of resistance and liberation” in the absence of peace talks, which both Hamas and its rival faction Fatah have boycotted.

The Air Force struck Gaza three times overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday after terrorists from Gaza fired seven rockets at Israel earlier in the evening. The rockets came in three rounds – with one round landing in one town in the Eshkol Regional Council, a second round landing in another town, and the third round landing in an open area.

Tuesday night's attacks were a continuation of what appeared to be an escalating deterioration of the security situation in southern Israel.

An IDF officer was wounded Tuesday morning when an explosive device blew up during an IDF exercise in the Gaza border area. The officer was flown by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva, where he was declared by doctors to be in serious condition, with his life in danger. The officer's condition was little-changed Tuesday night.