The residents of southern Israel faced a barrage of rockets from Gaza early Wednesday morning, with 45 rockets and mortars fired at Israeli communities.

As warning sirens wailed around 5:30 a.m., at least five rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled region touched down inside Israeli towns near the Gaza border, with one rocket hitting outside a kindergarten. Seven rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile-defense system, and three failed to make it out of Gaza. The majority of rockets landed in unpopulated open areas.

The Eshkol Council reported damage to a number of buildings and cars.

The Israel Defense Forces fired back with three rounds of airstrikes on terror sites, hitting approximately 25 targets belonging to Hamas.

The IDF issued a statement blaming Hamas for “targeting Israeli civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket attack and dragging the Gaza Strip and its civilians down a deteriorating path.”

Hamas claimed the rocket fire was in response to Israeli targeting of “terror kite” and flammable balloon flyers, whose hundreds of airborne incendiaries have burned tens of thousands of Israeli agricultural and nature reserve lands.

The rockets launched by Gazans this week broke an unofficial ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

From May 29 to May 30, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization launched approximately 200 rockets and mortars into Israel. The IDF responded by pounding more than 65 military targets in Gaza belonging to Islamic Jihad and Hamas.