The Israeli military launched a series of airstrikes on terrorist positions across the Gaza Strip Wednesday morning, hours after a rocket launched from Gaza hit the Israeli city of Beer Sheva.
In one strike, Israeli aircraft opened fire on terrorists in the city of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, an IDF spokesperson said Wednesday. According to the IDF, the terror cell was preparing to launch additional rockets at Israeli territory when the IDF aircraft opened fire.
“An IDF aircraft struck a terror cell in the northern Gaza Strip while they were attempting to fire rockets at Israeli territory,” the Israeli military said.
“During the operation, warning sirens were sounded in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.”
Hamas claimed that the Israeli airstrikes hit six separate targets in the Gaza Strip.
One terrorist was reported killed in the airstrikes. Gaza health officials identified the man as 25-year-old Naji al-Za'aneen.
The Israeli strikes came just hours after terrorists operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired a rocket at the Israeli city of Beer Sheva.
The rocket landed next to a private home, damaging the building.
Nine people were treated for shock, including several who were evacuated to Soroka Hospital.
IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said Wednesday morning that the rocket which landed in Beer Sheva was fired by terrorists affiliated with Hamas.
Hamas leaders, however, disavowed the attack, rejecting Israeli claims the Gaza-based group was responsible.
Manelis added that the IDF had struck 20 terrorist targets across the Gaza Strip, including tunnels used by terror groups.
In the wake of the rocket attack, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the closure of the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossing points to Gaza.
Liberman also ordered the area open to fishing along the Gaza coast reduced to three nautical miles.