More than 10 rockets have been fired at Ashkelon, Beersheva and Kiryat Gat after Palestinians mounted a series of terrorist attacks in southern Israel.
The missile attack followed a multi-pronged assault yesterday which left eight people dead and 40 injured after two civilian buses travelling to Eilat were shot at, an IDF patrol vehicle bombed, and mortar shells hit a civilian tractor near to the Israel-Egypt border.
Among those that died was Staff Sergeant Moshe Naftali, a 22 year-old soldier from Ofra.
During an exchange of fire between IDF soldiers and the terrorist squad, seven terrorists were killed.
Responding to the attacks, Israel Air Force aircrafts targeted seven sites in Gaza overnight, including a weapon manufacturing site and smuggling tunnels.
An IDF statement said: "The IDF will not tolerate any malicious attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will not hesitate to respond with strength and determination to any element that uses terror against the State of Israel and until calm is restored.
"The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organi sation solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."
Today missiles hit a synagogue, the courtyard of a yeshivah in Ashdod, injuring 18 people and a building in an Ashdod industrial park, which left six people wounded, one of them seriously.
Labour Friends of Israel chairman John Woodcock MP said: "I am appalled and disgusted by these vicious, cowardly and deadly attacks on innocent Israelis, and send my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured.
"We hope that the international community stands with Israel in this very difficult time and works together to put a stop to the smuggling of advanced weapons to the Hamas terrorist organisation and its allies in the Gaza Strip – weapons which have caused so much misery, and continue to damage to the prospects for peace in the region."