GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Islamic Jihad said it fired a longer-distance, shrapnel-packed missile into an Israeli military base early Tuesday -- wounding dozens of soldiers -- as part of its mission to hit targets deeper into Israel, a spokesman for the militant group told CNN.
A wounded Israeli soldier after arriving at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon early Tuesday.
The spokesman, who identified himself as "Abu Hamza," pledged that Islamic Jihad would intensify its rocket attacks against Israeli targets -- both civilian and military.
He said the attackers struck the military base with a Quds missile, which has a 15-km (9-mile) range, which is longer than the cruder Qassam rockets usually launched into Israel by Gaza militants.
The Quds, or Jerusalem, missile was also packed with shrapnel to inflict maximum casualties, the spokesman said. Islamic Jihad jointly claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack with the Popular Resistance Committee, an umbrella group of Palestinian militants.
The rocket hit a tent in the Zikim military base in the northwestern Negev desert in southern Israel around 2 a.m. Tuesday (7 p.m. Monday ET), according to the Israel Defense Forces. The IDF said 69 soldiers were injured, most of them -- 57 -- sustained minor injuries.
One soldier was critically injured, four were seriously wounded and seven suffered moderate injuries. At least 26 soldiers were treated and released, the IDF said.
Hours after the attack, the Israeli army fired on the location in northern Gaza from where the rocket was launched, an IDF spokeswoman said. Palestinian medical sources said a shell landed in Beit Lahiya, wounding four Palestinian civilians in their home. They said the injuries were not serious. E-mail to a friend