in Gaza fired at least 33 rockets and mortar shells at Israel's
western Negev region since Tuesday afternoon. No injuries or damage were reported at this time.
Three rockets hit the Netivot area at around 8:30 pm. Another rocket
exploded in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, while a fifth rocket
landed in the Eshkol Regional Council. All of the rockets landed in open
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
called a meeting of the top military and intelligence echelon to discuss the escalation
in the southern sector. A Defense Ministry source said that "a wide range of retaliatory actions are under review."
Yohanan Danino estimated Tuesday night that the current round of
violence between Gaza and Israel will continue for several days: "I hope
(the violence) won't expand, but we are preparing for the possibility
that it may reach the larger and more distant cities," he said.
Qassam rocket in Negev (Photos: Eliad Levy)
Thirteen rockets, which were launched from Gaza Tuesday afternoon,
landed in open areas within the Negev's Eshkol Regional Council. The
rockets were all fired in the span of about two hours.
At around 6:30 pm another rocket exploded in an open area in the Hof
Ashkelon Regional Council, and a few minutes later it was reported that
five more Qassams landed in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No
injuries were reported.
Several rockets were fired towards Sdot Negev Regional Council as
well, while five mortar shells were lobbed into the Sha'ar Hanegev and
Sdot Negev regional councils.
At around 8 pm another two rockets were fired towards the western
Negev, and about a half-hour later a Qassam landed in an open area in
the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.
The Home Front Command instructed the area's residents to stay in
very close proximity to shelters and other fortified structures.
Fire to continue?
Shortly after the initial salvo, Israeli aircraft struck a target in
the Gaza Strip. The IDF said its target was destroyed. Palestinian
sources in the Hamas-ruled
territory said one person was severely wounded in what they called a targeted killing attempt.
The sources said the aircraft targeted a motorcycle travelling in Dir
el-Balah in central Gaza. The injured man was evacuated to Gaza City's
Shifa Hospital, they said.
One of the rockets fired from Gaza exploded about a hundred meters
from Negev police sub-district sappers, who were canvassing the area in
search of rocket landing sites.
Another Qassam landed in a wheat field. Firefighters were alerted to the scene to contain a fire that erupted at the site.
Hamas' military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed
responsibility for the rocket fire, saying it fired "10 Grad rockets"
since noon Tuesday in response to the "Zionists' crimes."
The terror group said it would continue firing rockets as long as the IDF's strikes in Gaza persist.
Overnight, rockets fired from Gaza landed
in the Ashkelon area. The army detected the launching of four rockets,
which apparently exploded in open areas. No one was hurt in that attack
The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the
attack. A statement by the group said that the rockets were meant to hit
the Zikim army base. On Tuesday, alert level in the Gaza vicinity
communities was raised.
after midnight Israeli aircraft fired at a Palestinian terror cell as
its members were attempting to plant an explosive device near the
central Gaza Strip border fence.
The army said the attack target was hit. Palestinian sources later confirmed that the attack left two terrorists dead.
The attack marked the third Israeli airstrike in the Strip in the past 24 hours.
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