After several hours of quiet, rocket fire resumed early Thursday, and sirens were heard in Ashkelon and the surrounding regions. They also sounded across the center and south of the country, as well as northern Israel, as far as the Galilee region. One rocket is reported to have directly hit Rishon Lezion, and another in Petah Tikva.
Five people are being treated for minor injuries in Petah Tikva, several of them caused by anxiety and smoke inhalation.
Israel's security cabinet on Wednesday night approved the recommendation of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi to escalate retaliatory airstrikes into the Gaza Strip. Defense Minister Benny Gantz is briefing members of the Knesset as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel will not accept a ceasefire with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
An IDF soldier was killed by an anti-tank missile early Wednesday morning and a five-year-old boy was killed later in the day when a rocket scored a direct hit on his family's apartment building in Sderot. More than 1,200 rockets have been fired into Israel since the fighting began on Monday.
A rocket barrage was launched toward central Israel on Wednesday evening and sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and throughout the South as Hamas launched the rockets to avenge the deaths of its top commanders by Israel earlier in the day.
Two people were reportedly injured in a terrorist attack in the West Bank (Samaria) late Wednesday night, and the terrorist was neutralized on the spot, according to the IDF. The incident is under review.
The rockets either fell in open areas or were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. In Ashkelon though, one of the rockets scored a direct hit on a home, causing extensive damage to one of the bedrooms. A child had been sleeping there moments earlier and was whisked to safety when the sirens sounded.