In what constituted the heaviest fighting in the region in years, Israeli aircraft bombarded the Gaza Strip Saturday night, hours after a terrorist bomb planted along the coastal enclave's border fence wounded four Israeli soldiers on patrol.
Two of the soldiers were seriously wounded.
Israel said that it holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza, and proceeded to strike 18 facilities belonging to the ruling terror group.
Air raid sirens sounded in several nearby Israeli towns, but army officials later said they were false alarms, and that Hamas and its allies had not fired any rockets into the Negev region.
A Palestinian source cited by Israel Radio later said that Hamas had informed Egypt that it is not interested in escalating the conflict with Israel, and was not directly behind Saturday's border attack.