Tit-for-tat attacks between Israel and Gaza are intensifying as the militant group Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for dozens of new rockets that landed in southern Israel, a retaliation to airstrikes on targets that Israel's military deemed "terror sites"

Israeli soldiers and civilians stand next to a hole caused by a rocket launched from the Gaza strip, in the Israeli city of Sderot in the southern Negev desert on March 12, 2014. The attack prompted a retaliatory airstrike. (AFP)

More than 60 rockets had already been fired from Gaza on Israeli communities during an hour-long barrage that began late Wednesday afternoon, the New York Times reports. The rocket fire prompted Israeli airstrikes on 29 targets the Israeli military described as “terror sites” in the Gaza strip. The only reported injury on either side of the border was a 57-year-old Israeli woman who fell while running for cover.Rockets fired by militants in the Gaza strip landed in southern Israel on Thursday, continuing a cross-border flare-up that could threaten the 16-month ceasefire between Gaza and Israel.

Gaza militant group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, saying they were in response to Israeli airstrikes that killed three of its members on Tuesday. Israel said the airstrikes targeted the three members who were firing a mortar at troops patrolling the Gaza border fence.

The cross-border exchange is the largest flareup to threaten a 16-month cease fire between Israel and Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel would “hit back with increasing force” against anyone who attempted to ruin celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Purim, which this year runs from sundown on March 15 to nightfall on March 16.

Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip have fired more rockets at Israeli cities in a third day of a cross-border flare-up.
Sirens sounded in the southern Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Ashdod on Thursday. Israeli police said the rockets had landed in open areas, causing no casualties.
Islamic Jihad said it has launched more than 90 rockets since Wednesday, the highest number since Israeli bombardments of the Gaza Strip in November 2012, in which more than a hundred Palestinians were killed.

The group said the latest rocket attacks were retaliation to Israel breaking a truce by killing three of its members on Tuesday.
The Israeli military carried out 29 air strikes and fired tank shells at targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
No casualties were reported on either side of the frontier in the latest incidents. 


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