GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli aircraft fired missiles at militants who were on their way to launch rockets at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip, the army said. Two rocket launchers affiliated with the ruling Hamas party were killed, the militant group and hospital officials said.
Three other militants were wounded in the attack on a field near the town of Beit Lahia, hospital officials said.
Hamas' military wing said the militants had just fired two rockets when the Israeli missiles struck. The Israeli military could not immediately confirm that report.
Hamas called off a 16-month truce Saturday after blaming Israeli shelling for the deaths of eight Palestinians at a seaside picnic a day earlier. The Islamic militant group had renewed its involvement in homemade rocket fire at Israel even before the deaths of the beachgoers.
Hamas killed more than 250 Israelis in attacks in the 4 1/2 years leading up to the February 2005 truce.
The Israeli army said Palestinian militants fired about 10 rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip early Sunday, nearly hitting a college in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.
An Israeli man was critically injured, said Noa Rosolio, a spokeswoman for the Barzilai hospital in southern Israel.
Hamas' military wing took responsibility for the rocket attacks, saying that they would continue until residents of Sderot evacuated the town in fear.
"We have decided to make Sderot a ghost town," said a spokesman for Hamas who only gave his name as Abu Ubeideh. "We are not going to stop launching our rockets until they leave."
Ubeideh said the group had launched nine rockets at Israel since dawn Sunday. The Israeli army said 10 had fallen in Israel.
The Hamas rockets are considered more accurate than those fired by other groups almost daily since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in September.