JERUSALEM — Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continued into southern Israel on Thursday morning, a day after the most intense cross-border exchange in more than a year left a 16-month-old cease-fire and the fragile Middle East peace talks in jeopardy.
An hourlong barrage of more than 60 rockets rained down on Israeli communities near Gaza on Wednesday starting at about 5 p.m., prompting Israeli airstrikes that hit what the military described as 29 “terror sites” in the Palestinian coastal enclave.
Islamic Jihad, one of several militant groups in Gaza, claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s rocket attacks, which it said were a response to an Israeli airstrike on Tuesday that killed three of its members. Israel said that the three had fired a mortar at its troops patrolling inside Gaza’s border fence.
Around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, two more rockets hit open areas near the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, according to Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman. Four others were launched earlier Thursday but none made it to Israel and a single rocket landed overnight, Colonel Lerner said.