Several home-made Qassam shells were fired at the western Negev town of Sderot, one of which hit a building near the house of the Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Israeli sources reported on Wednesday.

The other two Qassams landed in a garden and an open space.

Even prior to this event, an Israeli military source said the army plans to step up attacks against the northern Gaza Strip to prevent the firing of Qassams.

The Islamic Jihad organization claimed responsibility for the firing of Qassams.

Also on Wednesday, an explosion rocked Gaza city as Israeli artillery and Air Force shelled the Gaza Strip.  Palestinian medics and residents said an Israeli missile was fired at a Palestinian, but missed its target, whereas Israeli security sources said the explosion resulted from a bomb detonated by Palestinians who were exercising.

Peretz visited the home struck shortly after the attack.

"I wanted to go to the security cabinet meeting in Jerusalem and 10 minutes before I woke up, I heard a loud explosion," Peretz told reporters in the morning.

Apparently, manufacturing Qassam shells has developed in the past few years. A Qassam is made up of a metal pipe that flies because of gunpowder explosion to an explosive head.

These shells, which Palestinians make from simple materials, question the function of the wall being built on West Bank land, local observers say.

Eli Moyal, the mayor of Sderot, harshly criticized the government’s response thus far to the rockets, which often strike this southern town.

"Our luck is that the Palestinians don’t know how to aim precisely," he told Israel Radio. "There are only two ways to stop this – either destroying the area where they fire the rockets from or controlling that area."