Southern Israel was being faced with a possible fresh explosion of violence on Wednesday after the firing of several Hamas missiles resulted in fierce retaliatory strikes by the Israeli air force.
Two mortar shells fired into southern Israel a day earlier led to Israeli air strikes on terrorist positions in Gaza overnight. Hamas resumed fire on Wednesday morning, firing two missiles at towns in Israel just as parents were taking their children to school.
There were no injuries reported in any of the attacks, but southern residents feared a renewal of the open warfare that engulfed the region last November.
At the same time, forces involved in Syria's ongoing civil war fired a mortar shell into northern Israel and directed heavy machine gun fire at an Israeli army border patrol on Tuesday.
New Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Israel will not tolerate cross-border attacks in either region.