GAZA (Reuters) - An Israeli man was killed on Saturday in a rocket strike launched from Gaza, medics said, the latest death in a three-day spasm of violence that has claimed the lives of more than 30 people.
Israeli security officials said seven other people were wounded, including two children, by more than 50 rockets fired from the Hamas-ruled territory on Saturday. In Gaza, an Israeli air strike wounded a Palestinian man seriously, medics said.
A militant group called the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility for the deadly rocket strike at a house in the southern city of Beersheba, while Hamas’s armed wing claimed responsibility for another attack that destroyed a home in the town of Ofakim.
It was the first time in months that Hamas had declared its involvement in rocket attacks against Israel, after largely observing a de facto truce since the end of a three-week offensive in January 2009.
Israel has launched aerial attacks on Gaza that have killed 15 people, among them gunmen and five civilians including three children, since a deadly assault along its border killed eight Israelis on Thursday.
Eli Bein, a spokesman for Magen David Paramedic services, said an Israeli man had died in hospital of injuries suffered in the rocket strike in Beersheba.
At least two more people were wounded seriously in the same barrage, paramedics and police said.
An earlier rocket attack injured three Palestinian men from the occupied West Bank as they hid in a sand dune outside the Israeli city of Ashdod, a police spokeswoman said.
A military spokesman said more than 50 rockets and mortars had been fired at Israel during the day and 75 since Thursday.
The steady rocket fire has disrupted life in much of southern Israel. Many shelter in safe rooms made of reinforced concrete when the frequent air raid sirens blare.
Israeli leaders held consultations about a possible response to the Gaza rockets. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a statement blaming the Palestinian self-rule government in the occupied West Bank for Thursday’s violence.
The Palestinian leadership “bears full responsibility for the murderous terror attacks against Israelis who were on vacation”, he said.
“The events of the past days prove that Palestinian talk of abandoning the path of terror and moving to diplomacy is as far from reality as the distance between Ramallah and the U.N. headquarters in New York.”
Hamas said on Friday it would “not allow the enemy to escalate its aggression without getting punished.”
Israel has said the PRC was responsible for Thursday’s gun ambush on the Egyptian border, a charge the group has denied. Israeli forces killed the group’s commander in an air strike on Thursday.
Five Egyptian security personnel and seven gunmen were also killed in Thursday’s clashes, an incident that has sparked a crisis in Israeli-Egyptian ties with Cairo saying it was recalling its ambassador to Tel Aviv earlier on Saturday.
(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; editing by Andrew Roche)