Al-Qassam Brigades Fire Rockets at Tel Aviv, Haifa as Gaza Death Toll Hits 163إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, announced firing rockets from Gaza at Tel Aviv in central Israel, its suburb Rishon LeZion and the northern city of Haifa on Sunday afternoon.
“Al-Qassam Brigades have shelled Haifa with an R160 rocket, Tel Aviv with 3 M75 rockets and Rishon LeZion with a Fajr-5 rocket,” the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen television reported earlier.
For its part, Al-Jazeera TV said rocket attack sirens wailed in Tel Aviv and the northern areas of Haifa, western Galilee and Nahariya.
A series of air strikes targeted several areas in the Gaza Strip soon afterwards, according to Al-Jazeera.
The Israeli army said two Gaza rockets were shot down over the greater Tel Aviv area by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, after at least three explosions shook the area.
"Iron Dome intercepted two rockets over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area," the army said, several hours after another two rockets were intercepted over Lod, very close to Israel's main international airport.
Overnight, Israeli navy commandos launched a ground operation in the north of the Gaza Strip, the first since the offensive against Hamas began, Israeli public radio said early Sunday.
The brief incursion targeted a rocket launcher site, it said. The armed branch of Hamas confirmed that Israeli commandos had exchanged gunfire with some Palestinian fighters.
A military spokesman later said four Israeli soldiers had been lightly wounded during the operation.
"During the mission a gunfight broke out, started by some terrorists operating at the site, during which four Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded," said the spokesman who declined to give further details on the operation.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades confirmed the exchange of gunfire "between our fighters and soldiers of the Zionist navy which tried to penetrate the zone of Sudanyia" in northwest Gaza.
It was the first ground operation in Gaza by the Israeli military since the start of its offensive on Tuesday.
Israeli strikes on Gaza killed a teenager and a woman on Sunday, medics said, raising the overall death toll to 166 as the punishing air campaign entered its sixth day.
One strike on the northern town of Jabaliya struck a house, killing a 14-year-old boy, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
Shortly afterwards, another strike killed a woman in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, he said.
A man was killed in a raid on Beit Hanun in northern Gaza, where the Israeli army has warned it will sharply escalate its offensive and had urged residents to flee.
Elsewhere another person succumbed to injuries from an earlier strike, Qudra said, giving an overall toll of 166 dead.
More than 1,000 people have been wounded.
Witnesses in the southern city of Rafah also reported seeing gunmen killing a man in the middle of the street in what appeared to be the execution of someone suspected of collaborating with Israel.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from any of Gaza's armed factions.
Saturday was the bloodiest day by far of the operation, with 52 people killed.
The deadliest strike was in Gaza City just before midnight (21:00 GMT) in the eastern Tuffah district where 18 people were killed in strikes that hit the house of Hamas police chief Tayseer al-Batsh and a mosque, medics said.
Batsh survived but was reportedly in critical condition, with around 50 people wounded in the strikes.
Israel began Operation Protective Edge before dawn on Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire by militant groups.
Since then, approximately 660 rockets have hit Israel, while another 173 were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, the army said.
On Sunday, 30 rockets struck Israel, while another five were shot down, a spokeswoman said.
No Israelis have been killed, and only three people have been seriously wounded since the start of the operation, one them a 16-year-old boy who was injured on Sunday during a strike on the coastal town of Ashkelon, medics said.
By Sunday morning, the Israeli military said it had struck 1,320 "terror targets" across Gaza, including 735 rocket launchers, 64 training bases and militant compounds, and 32 Hamas leadership facilities.
More than 20 targets were hit overnight, the army said.