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Three Israelis were reported wounded in a rocket attack on the southern city of Sderot.
Beersheba mayor Ruvik Danilovich said the Grad rocket landed in an open area north of the city, but he was still waiting to hear additional details from security officials. The Iron Dome missile defense system destroyed 25 of the rockets.
Palestinians militants have also fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli military has carried out dozens of air strikes in the enclave.
In an earlier statement, the Israeli military said gunmen had fired on its soldiers from a Hamas post, which was shelled by a tank in response.
The attack against Beersheba marked a significant increase in the level of violence from the Gaza Strip.
No Palestinian terrorist group immediately took responsibility for the attack.
The IDF said it was "determined to secure the safety of the citizens of Israel and is on high alert and prepared for a wide variety of scenarios".
Meanwhile, a senior Israeli army official told Israeli daily Haaretz on Thursday that Tel Aviv is approaching a new war on Gaza.
Israeli forces have launched three military assaults on the Gaza Strip since 2008. One Hamas operative, identified as Ali al-Ghadnour, a relative of senior Hamas commander Abu Anas Ghandour who was designated by the US State Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist previous year.
Three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her toddler daughter, were killed and 11 others were injured in Israel's retaliatory strikes in Gaza, the enclave's Hamas-run health ministry said in a statement.
Clashes along the Gaza border since the end of March have seen at least 165 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire. According to Professor Yochanan Pfizer, deputy director of Soroka Medical Center, said that the injured woman was suffering from shrapnel wounds to her stomach.
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said on Wednesday he was "deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today's mutiple rockets fired towards communities in southern Israel". However, no reservist units have been called up as of Thursday morning, the army spokesperson said.
The Swedish government confirmed that all the Swedes had been sent home on Wednesday, while the Ship to Gaza activist group said shortly before midday that "most of [the activists] are already in transfer".
Sirens were sounded in several Israeli areas close to the border with Gaza, warning residents to seek immediate shelter, the Israeli army said.
On Wednesday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. -Gen.