Israeli fighter jets attacked targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the military said, hours after a rocket fired overnight by militants in the territory struck a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, a sharp escalation after months of simmering tensions along the Israel-Gaza border, The New York Times reports.
The main militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, issued a joint statement soon after the first Israeli strikes, denying responsibility for the rocket fire against Israel. The possibility that the rockets were launched by a smaller, rogue group increased the likelihood that both sides may try to contain the hostilities and not allow them to spiral into all-out conflict, though the situation remained volatile.
Hours later, Israel said it had targeted a squad of militants who were trying to launch more rockets into southern Israel. One Palestinian man was killed, according to Gaza health officials, and three Palestinians were injured in earlier airstrikes on militant targets in Rafah, in southern Gaza.