An Israeli child, 8, was seriously wounded Saturday when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel, police and medics said. Another person, the boy's 19-year-old brother, was seriously injured, the medics said.

The rocket fell near the children on a road in the center of the town of Sderot, they said.

"There was a great explosion and we set out in the direction of the neighborhood," a medic who gave his name only as Gil told Army Radio. "I found two injured people, one boy very seriously wounded in the legs."

The boy's legs were at least partially severed by the explosion, Army Radio reported.

The Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip took responsibility for firing two rockets toward Sderot around the time of the attack. Two rockets had fallen earlier in the day, but caused no damage or injuries.

The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip had vowed to persist in their attacks despite an Israeli cutback in power supply to the coastal territory that was meant to pressure Gazans to stop the launchings.

The Israeli army and government have been reluctant to launch a large military campaign in Gaza against the rocket operation for fear both soldiers and Palestinian civilians would suffer a great number of casualties. But analysts have said that any serious rocket attacks will put great pressure on the political echelon to approve such a broad operation.

The rockets fall almost daily in southern Israel, occasionally causing casualties. Twelve Israelis have been killed by the rockets in the past six years.