By YAAKOV LAPPIN, REUTERS AND JPOST.COM STAFF
Hamas announced early on Saturday they were no longer committed to a more than two-year de facto truce with Israel since the end of a war in early 2009.
The statement was broadcast over a Hamas radio station in Gaza after Israel pounded the Strip for two days with air strikes in response to rocket salvoes and attacks on Thursday that killed eight people.
Counter-terror officer killed by terrorist fire near Eilat
Timeline of the attacks on the Sinai border
"There is no longer any truce with the enemy," the statement said in a move seen as paving the way for Hamas to escalate the violence with Israel.
The IAF launched an airstrike late Friday night against a terrorist cell in the central Gaza Strip after the cell fired a rocket into Israeli territory, the IDF Spokesman's Office said in a statement. A direct hit was identified in the strike, the statement added.
Minutes earlier, the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward Ashkelon.
Earlier, three rockets exploded in the Eshkol Regional council Friday night over a period of several hours. No injuries or damages were reported.
In the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, an explosion occurred near a local kibbutz Friday evening. Local officials said a Kassam rocket landed in an open area. No injuries or damages were reported.
An hour earlier, two rockets fired from Gaza fell in northern Lachish not far from Kiryat Malachi. No injuries were reported although the explosion sparked a fire, which spread to an empty building. The building was lightly damaged before firefighters put out the fire.
Police have asked members of the public in the affected areas to follow instructions from the home front command.
One person was seriously injured and another moderately injured after a Grad rocket fired from Gaza landed in the courtyard of a yeshiva in Ashdod on Friday morning.
Four other people were treated for shock following the attack. All were taken to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. An additional Grad that failed to explode subsequently fell in the area and was neutralized by the bomb squad.
Light damage was caused to the building as a result of the rocket fire.
The rocket attack came less than a day after a three-stage terror attack near Eilat killed eight people.
Earlier on Friday, at least 10 rockets were fired at various targets in the South including Ashkelon and Beersheba.
All of the rockets landed in open territory and no injuries or damage were reported.
IAF aircraft struck seven Hamas security installations in Gaza early Friday morning, killing at least one Palestinian, in further retaliation for the attacks on Thursday.
Gaza residents said three compounds controlled by Hamas were hit in the overnight raids. Medical officials said a 13-year-old boy in a nearby building was killed and 17 people were wounded.
Defense sources said the attackers infiltrated from Gaza via Egypt's Sinai desert, despite stepped up efforts by Egyptian security forces in recent days to rein in Palestinian terrorists.
"If anyone thinks the State of Israel will resign itself to this, they are wrong," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a brief television address about the most deadly attack in Israel since 2008.
The IDF said seven gunmen were killed in southern Israel, including two who blew themselves up in suicide attacks on one of the buses and in a confrontation with soldiers.
Egyptian soldiers apparently shot dead two gunmen, the military said.