Israeli F16 fighter jets launched the sixth air strike of the day on Gaza on Saturday afternoon, witnesses said.
The most recent strike hit Ahmad Abu Shareb’s home, east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Abu Shareb told Ma’an the Israeli army told him to evacuate his home prior to the shelling. No injuries were reported.
Earlier Saturday afternoon, warplanes struck three targets in the southern Gaza Strip leaving at least two Palestinians injured.
The first hit an open space between Rafah and Khan Younis, a Ma’an correspondent said.
Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said two people were injured, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.
Two more airstrikes came minutes after the first targeting two security sites belonging to the Hamas-run government in Rafah, which is near the Egyptian border.
A family of four, including an 18-month-old girl, were lightly wounded, after their vehicle was hit by shrapnel as they were driving by one of the targets, Abu Salmiya told AFP.
A third air strike hit an Islamic Jihad facility west of Khan Younis, witnesses said.
The raids came after pre-dawn strikes against two other training camps of the hardline Islamic Jihad group.
Several missiles hit an Islamic Jihad military base in Khan Younis. Islamic Jihad has refused to observe a calm in attacks against Israel agreed by Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other groups.
The military said that during the weekend its planes shelled “several terror activity sites in the Gaza Strip as a response to the baragging of rocket fire at the Israeli home front.”
In a statement, the army said the pre-dawn raids “targeted a number of sites in the central Gaza Strip,” and the afternoon strikes “targeted a terror tunnel and two terror activity sites in the southern Gaza Strip.”
The air raids came after tensions rose along the Israel-Gaza border this week following clashes and a rocket attack on the Israeli city of Beersheba that hit a house but caused no casualties.
It was the first rocket to strike the city since the devastating offensive Israel waged against Gaza in December 2008-January 2009 and prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to warn the territory’s militants.
That conflict killed 1,400 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers.
Commenting on recent rocket attacks, Israeli security minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said, “We cannot ignore the firing of rockets on the residents of Israel. We must stop these attacks.
“There is an attempt to give it some sort of legitimization of attack – response. The response should be much more painful. The firing of Grad rockets on Beersheba or other cities crosses the red line,” he noted.
“State and the IDF must respond with a heavy hand. I will also demand this from the government. No country in the world would have allowed Grad rockets to fall on its residents,” Aharonovitch noted.
Also on Saturday, a Palestinian man was shot and wounded in the leg as he collected gravel near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics said.
Palestinians in Gaza frequently forage through the rubble along the territory’s border with Israel, seeking construction materials which are otherwise in short supply because of an Israeli-imposed blockade.
A military spokesman said a group of suspicious people were seen approaching the border. When they failed to heed warning shots, “soldiers fired toward their legs and identified hitting one of them.”
Israel imposes a 300-meter buffer zone along the length of the border as a “no-go” area where anyone who comes too close is liable to be shot at by soldiers manning watchtowers.