Israeli warplanes pounded the southern Gaza Strip for the second time today, killing at least nine Palestinians. Two members of Islamic Jihad were among those killed in the Israeli attack on the city of Rafah. Initial reports said seven Palestinians were killed, but medical teams in Gaza later that the wounded died later of their extremely serious wounds. To defend against these attacks, the Palestinians fired two long-range Grad rockets, and the Israeli media reported that at least one Israeli was killed by the rockets. Over the past months, Tel Aviv has stepped up its air strikes against the besieged coastal strip, killing many Palestinians and injuring many more. Israel had stepped up attacks against the narrow strip of Palestinian land, killing many Palestinians and injuring many more. Israel had launched attacks against Gaza before and after its December 2008 to January 2009 war on the territory, which had left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead. Supposedly, the airstrikes were carried out under the pretext of "preventing attacks" against Israel.