JERUSALEM (AP) — At least 14 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel early Monday, the Israeli army said, the latest in an intensifying barrage from the Palestinian territory.
The rocket fire caused shrapnel damage to two homes in Israel, and two Israelis were treated at hospital for shock, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Rocket fire from Hamas-ruled Gaza has increased in recent weeks, as Israeli troops carry out an extensive operation against the militant organization in the West Bank, part of a search for three missing Israeli teens that Israel says were abducted by Hamas.
The army says about 40 rockets have landed in Israel since the teens went missing earlier this month. Rockets fired from Gaza — most of which are crude, makeshift devices — rarely cause casualties or major damage, but sow fear in Israeli communities near the border.
The Gaza Strip remains under de facto Hamas control despite the formation of a Palestinian unity government in early June. The Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza from forces loyal to the Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas seven years ago.
Early Sunday, Israel carried out airstrikes on 12 militant targets after a rocket attack, the military said. It said the targets included concealed rocket launchers, weapons manufacturing sites and what it called “terror activity” sites.
The airstrikes were in retaliation for six rockets from Gaza that struck Israel the previous evening. Two of the rockets hit a factory in the town of Sderot, setting it ablaze.
Late Sunday, the Israeli army said it intercepted two rockets fired out of Gaza, while Gaza militants opened fire at Israeli soldiers operating along the Gaza border. It said Israeli forces fired at a suspected gunman. A member of Hamas’ militant wing was killed, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said.