Israeli Army Registers Launch of Rocket From Gaza Strip

Rocket fired into Israel from Gaza: Israeli army

With a nod to the Egyptian talks, Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists and other major militant groups took the unusual step of denying responsibility for Wednesday's launchings, saying they rejected "all irresponsible attempts to sabotage the Egyptian effort, including the firing of the rockets".

The Palestinian rockets that triggered Israel's response fell on the city of Beersheba, which is located approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Gaza and is the largest city in southern Israel, with a population of around 200,000 people.

The family of three children escaped injury but were treated for shock at the scene, Israeli media reported.

"The situation as it is today can not continue", Avigdor Lieberman told troops and commanders at Reim army base, near southern Israel's border with Hamas-ruled Gaza.

"At the same time, we emphasize we are ready to confront the Israeli aggression".

Growing voices within Israel's leadership have been calling for a stronger response to ongoing weekly protests along the Gaza border fence.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said around 20 Palestinians had crossed the border in an "organised attack" after an explosive device destroyed a portion of the fence.

In a rare move, seemingly aimed at easing the tensions, the so-called "joint coordination room of resistance factions" that includes Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other groups issued a statement distancing themselves from the rocket fire.

Liberman told reporters that the Israeli cabinet has to decide if it will embark on a large-scale military operation against the Palestinian terror movements in Gaza in light of the wave of attacks against IDF soldiers and civilians in southern Israel.

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A member of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas inspects the scene of an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip October 17, 2018.

Residents in Gaza said the aircraft targeted three locations, but there were no initial reports of casualties.

Lieberman also ordered the reduction of the permitted fishing zone off the Gaza coast to three nautical miles, the defence ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, COGAT, said.

He also suspended shipments of fuel that had been trucked daily into Gaza over the previous week under a deal brokered by the UN and backed by the United States, Israel and others.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a similar warning on Sunday, accusing Hamas of not stopping attacks against Israelis.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, called the developments "a risky escalation". The military said another rocket had been launched from Gaza, falling into the sea.

The attack on Beersheva came as Lieberman said he is pressing for upgraded military action to quiet the situation in Gaza.

On Wednesday morning the Code Red alarm sounded again in the region close to the northern Gaza border.

The rocket attack comes as an Egyptian delegation arrived in Gaza on Tuesday led by Ahmed Abdul Khaleq, an intelligence official in charge of the Palestinian file.

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