1 of 3 | Smoke billows following Israeli military strikes in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Wednesday. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo
May 10 (UPI) -- Israeli officials said hundreds of rockets were fired into Israel Wednesday in retaliation for fatal Israeli military airstrikes into Gaza in the past two days.
The Israel Defense Forces tweeted that 289 rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel, with 60 intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. It said that an additional 56 rocket launches failed, while 212 crossed into Israel and struck 108 targets.
Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the IDF was keeping its focus on Islamic Jihad, which it blamed for the strikes, although the Hamas militant group had also pledged retaliation.
"We are striking those who are launching rockets at us," Hagari said. "Islamic Jihad is leading this rocket fire. If other factions join, we will respond against them too."
Hagari added the goal of its earlier operation was achieved with the assassination of three senior Islamic Jihad leaders, Khalil Bahitini, 44; Tarek Ezzaldin, 49; and Jihad Ghanem, 62. on Tuesday morning.
The military identified Bahitini as a senior operational officer of Islamic Jihad and its Northern Gaza Division commander; Ghanem as one of the organization's most senior members; and Ezzaldin as having directed the terrorist organization's operation in Judea and Samaria from Gaza and were planning attacks against Israelis.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday that a total of 21 people had been killed and 64 injured in the strikes since dawn on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen confirmed to public broadcaster Kan, that Israel had received a ceasefire proposal from Egypt, saying that the government was "assessing it."