JERUSALEM – Barrages of rockets fired from Gaza hit Israeli towns Sunday and the Israeli air force responded with a missile strike as violence surged after the expiration of a shaky truce.
One rocket struck a house in the town of Sderot, but no injuries were reported. The blast scattered rubble and furniture inside the house.
"Everyone is traumatized," the house's owner, Maya Aviar, told AP Television News.
A worker at a farming community near Gaza was lightly wounded by shrapnel in a separate rocket strike, the Israeli military said.
Another rocket landed in an industrial zone in Ashkelon, a city of about 120,000 people 10 miles north of Gaza.
Ashkelon is the biggest population center in range of the rockets from Gaza, and Israel has responded harshly to past attacks on the coastal city.
The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad took responsibility for Sunday's rocket fire.
An Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a rocket launcher that had been primed and was ready to fire in northern Gaza, the Israeli military said. Militants typically prepare rockets for launch and then fire them from cover a safe distance away. There were no reports of casualties in the strike.
A truce between Israel and Gaza's rulers from the militant Hamas group expired on Friday, six months after it began. The truce had frayed since early November, and rocket fire at Israeli towns has been increasing steadily in recent days.
On Saturday, militants fired more than 30 rockets and mortar shells into Israel, and the Israeli air force killed one militant who was launching rockets.
Israel has said it wants to preserve the truce and will not take military action if the militants hold their fire, but has threatened to carry out a broad military operation in Gaza if the barrages persist.
"The scenarios are clear, the plans are clear, the determination is clear, and so are the ramifications of each of the steps. A responsible government is not happy to go to war, but does not evade it," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at his Cabinet's weekly meeting.
The Israeli government has come under heavy pressure to react to the rocket fire. In the past, large operations have not succeeded in stopping the rockets.
Israel has also largely kept the crossings into Gaza closed in response to the rocket fire, a move that has caused shortages of fuel and basic goods in the territory of 1.4 million Palestinians.