JERUSALEM, April 8 (UPI) -- Israeli airstrikes, launched in retaliation for a rocket attack on a school bus, killed five Palestinians and injured at least 40, Israeli officials said.
The strikes began shortly after an anti-tank rocket hit the bus in western Negev Thursday, critically injuring a 16-year-old Israeli boy, officials said.
Fighter jets bombed a target in northern Gaza Friday after other planes targeted smuggling tunnels and Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip and tanks shelled suspected rocket firing positions, the army said.
After the school bus attack, salvos of about 45 mortar shells and Qassam rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza, the army said. No one was wounded in the attacks and, aside from damage to a house in one of the communities near the Gaza border, the projectiles fell in open areas, the army said.
Shortly before midnight Thursday, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack on the school bus and declared a cease-fire, the Ma'an news agency said.
Bombing continued after the Hamas-initiated truce went into effect at 11 p.m , Ynetnews.com said.
"The attack on the school bus crossed all lines. Whoever tries to hurt and murder children, the blood is on his head," Haaretz quoted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as saying Friday in Prague.
For the first time since its deployment, the anti-missile defense system Iron Dome succeeded in intercepting a Grad missile fired at Ashkelon Thursday evening, the army said.