[Updated at 12:40 p.m.] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel "neither chose nor initiated this escalation, but if it continues we are prepared for much more extensive and deeper action. In any case, we will continue with preventative operations. Whoever intends to attack Israeli citizens needs to know that he will bear the consequences."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured areas hit by rockets in southern Israel and said the military "is working efficiently against all the terror elements. Since the beginning of the month, 15 active terrorists have been killed in the act, and more have been injured." He wished a speedy recovery to those injured by rockets fired from Gaza. "Hamas will receive its punishment for what has happened here," he vowed, promising that Israel will "work with patience and level-headedness."
"There is no way to eliminate the hatred or hostility entrenched in Hamas. But the IDF will act on the border, from the air, and in any other necessary way in order to strike down those who attempt to cause us harm," he said.
[Updated at 9:02 a.m. ET] As dozens of Palestinian rockets rained down on southern Israel, the country's air force carried out new raids on positions in Gaza on Wednesday. Two days of air strikes have so far killed four Palestinians.
Israeli strikes have killed two Hamas militants, journalist Tala Abu Rahma reports. Nine people have been injured, including two critically, in Gaza from the air strikes.
A spokesman for Islamic Jihad said today they will respond to any and all activity by the Israeli military when the time comes.
[Posted at 3:32 a.m. ET] An Israeli air raid on Gaza early Wednesday killed a Palestinian, bringing the total killed in overnight strikes to three, health authorities said.
The attack early Wednesday near Khan Younis also seriously wounded nine people, said Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman of the health ministry in Gaza. It came after an airstrike late Tuesday that killed two Palestinians and seriously wounded two others.
The Israeli Defense Forces said Wednesday that the aircraft had been responding to rocket fire and that tanks had shelled "terrorist targets" in Gaza.
More than 40 rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza overnight, seriously wounding three people, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.
Israeli areas around Gaza are under heightened alert amid fears that more rockets could be launched.
The Israel Defense Forces said aircraft had targeted two rocket-launching squads in Gaza in the strike on Beit Hanoun late Tuesday. The two Palestinians killed were militants from Al-Qassam group, the military wing of Hamas, the IDF said.