ASHKELON, Israel — Israeli airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza in an escalation not seen here since 2014. The strikes are retaliation, the military says, for more thanfired from Gaza into Israel.
"Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad made a deliberate decision to try to maximize damage inside Israel and to kill Israeli civilians," said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman.
Gaza has been under the control of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas since 2007, and stepped up attacks after an alleged botched Israeli commando mission inside Gaza left one Israeli officer and seven Palestinian fighters dead.
The southern Israeli city of Ashkelon is just eight miles from Gaza, making it an easy target. CBS News saw the aftermath of a Hamas rocket hitting an Israeli house. It blew a hole in the living room wall, where a woman was watching TV when the siren rang out.
She begged her son Dor Baney to come with her to a reinforced safe room. That may have saved both their lives — two minutes before the explosion, he was in the shower.
"That's a close call," Baney said.
Palestinians in Gaza faced widespread destruction after the Israeli military targeted 160 sites.
While Hamas announced a ceasefire Tuesday, the Israelis aren't ready to go that far. The cabinet ordered the military to continue strikes "as necessary" but stopped short of calling for a new offensive.