Militants in the Gaza Strip showered southern Israeli towns with rockets and mortar fire on Wednesday in the latest sign that the six-month truce between Israel and Hamas has collapsed.
An estimated 30 rockets and at least 20 mortar shells were launched from Gaza, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.
The makeshift rockets are wildly inaccurate and rarely cause serious injuries. But Israeli officials said more than 50 people, half of them children, were treated for hysteria and shock.
The Izzidin al-Qassam Brigade, Hamas' military wing, issued a statement saying the barrage was retaliation for the killing of three Hamas gunmen by Israeli soldiers in a clash Tuesday night.
Later Wednesday, an Israeli warplane fired on what the army said was a group of militants preparing to fire a rocket. Local medical sources said at least one Palestinian was killed.
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