JERUSALEM (AP) — Gaza Strip militants barraged southern Israel with rocket fire on Wednesday and Israel retaliated with multiple airstrikes, as a brief cease-fire crumbled shortly after it took effect.
The recent flare in violence is the most serious in months, drawing in militants from Gaza's ruling Hamas group after a months-long lull and threatening a longer informal cease-fire that has largely held since Israel and Gaza gunmen warred more than three years ago. Although neither side seems interesting in seeing the violence spiral into all-out war, clashes could easily escalate if casualties multiply.
Six Palestinians, including at least four militants, were killed this week in airstrikes, and several Israelis have been wounded by rocket fire.
The Israeli military said 12 rockets were fired by late morning and that Israeli aircraft struck seven targets, shattering a truce the Islamic Jihad militant group had said would go into effect at midnight Tuesday. There were no reports of casualties on either side from the Tuesday morning attacks.
More than 50 rockets have hit Israel since Tuesday, by the military's count. The violence has aggravated jitters caused by a deadly attack launched from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday and rocket fire at southern Israel over the weekend believed to have come from that same area.