A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip exploded in an Israeli army base early yesterday, wounding 50 soldiers and drawing Israeli calls for a major military operation against rocket squads in the Gaza Strip.
The wounded soldiers were all recruits undergoing basic training at a base just north of the Gaza-Israel border and were asleep when the rocket hit an empty tent, the army said.
Eleven soldiers in nearby tents were seriously wounded in the attack and another 39 were lightly injured, it said.
Yesterday's attack marks the largest number of injuries ever sustained in a Palestinian rocket attack and comes at a time when Israeli politicians and defense officials have been calling for a more aggressive Israeli response.
"Several years ago, we should have responded strongly ... In the end we will have to act," Cabinet Minister Eli Yishai said.
Also yesterday morning, four Palestinian civilians between ages 5 and 21, members of the same family, were wounded by Israeli fire in northern Gaza, Muawiya Hassanin of Gaza's Health Ministry said.
Two were treated and released and two remained hospitalized, he said.
The army confirmed that ground forces attacked the area where militants earlier launched the rocket that hit the base.
Two groups -- Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees -- claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.