The IDF struck Hamas targets Wednesday night, after six mortar attacks from Gaza on Israeli army units.
The IAF hit five Hamas installations in southern Gaza.
Israel sent a sharp warning to Hamas through the U.N. and Egypt that if the attacks on Israeli positions continue it will have no choice but to respond with a heavy hand.
“The IDF views underground terrorism and overground terrorism activities as a breach of the state of Israel’s sovereignty, and views the Hamas terror organization as being solely responsible,” the military said in a statement.
The assessment of defense officials as of Wednesday night was that Hamas was already backing away from a more serious confrontation.
Earlier in the day, IDF tanks had responded to 5 mortar shells aimed at an IDF unit carrying out operational work on the Gaza border fence.
Hours later, a second explosion occurred on the northern border of Gaza in the afternoon, followed by retaliatory fire from Israel.
Other incidents followed, which in the end prompted the IAF air strike.
There were no injuries among IDF soldiers.
Due to the exchange of fire, the area surrounding the Nahal Oz Gaza border community was declared a closed military zone until further notice.
Wednesday’s incidents marked the first time a mortar shell was fired at an IDF force since Operation Protective Edge, in the summer of 2014. During the past year-and-a-half, there were several instances of gunfire and explosives targeting the troops, but this was the first rocket to fall near an Israeli force.