GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A rocket fired by Palestinian militants toward Israel exploded in the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday, killing a 3-year-old girl and wounding three other people, a medical official said.
Ashraf al-Kidra said it was not clear whether the rocket was misfired, or whether an Israeli rocket-defense system intercepted it and caused it to explode over Palestinian territory.
The Israeli military said Gaza militants fired a total of five rockets at Israel late Tuesday. It said two were shot down by the "Iron Dome" rocket-defense system, while one fell in an open area and two landed inside Gaza.
The Israeli military responded early Wednesday with a series of airstrikes across Gaza, saying it targeted five concealed rocket launchers, a weapons-manufacturing facility and a "terror activity" site. Palestinian officials said two people were wounded.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said Israel is "determined to act against those that strive to target Israel."
The area has seen an uptick in violence over the past two weeks since three Israeli teenagers disappeared in the West Bank. Israel has accused Hamas militants, who control Gaza, of being behind the apparent abduction. Hamas has praised the kidnapping, but said it does not know who carried it out.
Israel has been carrying out a broad ground operation in the West Bank, searching for the missing teens and arresting scores of Hamas operatives. There have also been near-daily rocket attacks from Gaza, prompting Israeli airstrikes in retaliation.