The aerial exchange comes a day after the Israeli military killed three terrorist leaders.
Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip unleashed a barrage of rockets at Israel on Wednesday afternoon, breaking a tense, day-long calm following the IDF’s targeted killing of three top Palestinian Islamic Jihad members on Tuesday.
Warning sirens sounded in Ashkelon and other communities near the Gaza border.
Terrorists fired more than 20 projectiles, according to initial reports.
In response, Israeli Air Force jets began striking PIJ rocket infrastructure across the Strip.
The military urged residents of southern Israel to stay near bomb shelters and follow Home Front Command directives.
On Wednesday afternoon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi toured the military’s Gaza Division and held a situational assessment meeting.
As part of the tour, he met with troops in the field and was presented with various attack and defense scenarios.
Sources in Hamas told Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar newspaper earlier on Wednesday that “the response will be unified through the joining military of the resistance factions, and it will teach the occupation [Israel] a great lesson, and the responses will not be limited to a specific faction or a specific front, but rather all fronts are nominated to participate in the response.”
Thousands of Israelis living near the Gaza border have been evacuated since Tuesday’s targeted killings, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant having approved the move in anticipation of rocket fire.
Evacuees are being bused to hotels, hostels and guest houses throughout Israel, where they will be able to stay for three days, with the possibility of an extension depending on the security situation.
Many other Gaza-area residents have temporarily relocated to other parts of the country on their own initiative.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night said that he had authorized Tuesday morning’s targeted killings after more than 100 rockets were fired at Israel last week.
The IDF identified the targets as Khalil Bahitini, PIJ’s commander in northern Gaza; Jahed Ahnam, a senior member of the terror group’s “military” council; and Tarek Azaldin, who directed its activities in Judea and Samaria.
“Israel’s policy is clear: Those who seek to harm Israel will be harmed. Those who kill our citizens will pay a heavy price. And those who fire on our cities and civilians will be held responsible for their actions,” Netanyahu said.
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