By Ryan Jones
Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip late Wednesday night fired two long-range GRAD missiles into southern and central Israel.
The first missile exploded on the outskirts of the town of Kiryat Gat, which is at the southern end of Israel's densely populated central region.
The second landed within the city limits of the southern port of Ashkelon.
The attacks caused no injuries, but a road was damaged in Ashkelon.
Israeli officials said they view the attacks as an escalation of violence, as GRAD missiles are far more accurate than the Palestinians' locally-produced Kassam rockets, can travel much further, and carry a larger payload.
In response, Israeli forces attacked several terrorist installations in Gaza on Thursday morning, reporting direct hits on their targets.
Despite the mounting violence, Israel continues to go out of its way to aid the local Palestinian population by improving economic conditions.
Late last month, the Israeli army stressed its ongoing efforts to help Palestinian farmers export their produce to European markets.
When some of that produce failed to meet the standards of European importers, the Israeli army set up a seminar for Palestinian strawberry growers with an expert in that field.
The expert taught the Palestinians how to more properly prepare their soil, make use of pesticides and fertilizers and handle the picked fruit.
"We want to help Palestinian farmers...in hope of increasing exports to Europe and thus improving profits and the Palestinian economy at the Gaza Strip," said Lt.-Col. Kobi Gertzvolf, head of the Directorate of Financial Coordination and Liaison in Gaza.
IDF Responds to Grad Attacks, Strikes Terror Targets in Gaza - Arutz Sheva
2 rockets fired from Gaza - YNet News
IDF strikes targets in Gaza in retaliation to rockets - Jerusalem Post
In Response to Rocket Fire, IAF Targets Two Terror Activity Sites and a Smuggling Tunnel - IDF Spokesperson Blog
Israeli aircraft strike militant training posts in Gaza - Monsters and Critics