VIDEO - Four Qassam rockets were fired from north Gaza early Wednesday toward the western Negev, with two landing in Sderot. Police and Magen David Adom paramedics dispatched to the scene treated a number of people for shock and anxiety and later evacuated them to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. No other injuries were reported in the attacks.
The IDF responded with artillery fire at Qassam launching pads in north Gaza.
The al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, claimed responsibility for the rocket barrage, saying ‘the retaliation to the killing of a senior Jihad member in Beirut by Israel several days ago will continue.’
The Qassams were launched just before 6 a.m.; one rocket directly hit a Sderot home located a short distance from Defense Minister Amir Peretz's house. The rocket caused damage to one of the home's exterior walls. The family was inside the house during the strike but was unharmed.
Another rocket struck the roof of a house in Sderot and landed in the yard; a third rocket landed in another western Negev community, while the fourth landed in an open field.
“Luckily the rocket struck the concrete part of the roof, which slowed it down a bit,” Sderot homeowner Moti Ashkenazi said.
Ashkenazi, who was alone in his house during the attack, added that “I heard a blast and flew off the bed; part of the ceiling landed on me. A big miracle took place here because shrapnel from the rocket hit the gas tanks inside the house. I am still trying to fathom what happened to us this morning.
'Residents exposed to rocket fire'
Ashkenazi’s wife left early for Tel Aviv, and his children spent the night there.
Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council head Alon Shuster demanded that the government allocate funds for the construction of security rooms.
“As of today, most of the residents of communities located near Gaza are exposed to direct (rocket) hits,” he said.
Ten days ago a Qassam struck a classroom in a Sderot school, but luckily no pupils were present at the time of the attack.
Wednesday’s rocket barrage came just one day after the IDF’s ground operation against Qassam rocket cells in Gaza, the first of its kind since last summer’s disengagement.
During the operation an IDF force raided the north Gaza town of Beit Lahiya and killed four Islamic Jihad members who planned to launch rockets toward Israel.
A source in the Southern Command said following the raid, “we will reach the Qassam-launching cells and terrorist wherever they may be and use all means necessary.”
On Tuesday two Qassam rockets were fired toward Israel and landed in open fields; no inquires were reported. On Monday a mortar shell fell near the Nahal Oz army base and caused slight damage, while more Qassams were fired at western Negev communities; no injuries were reported in the incidents.
Monday’s attacks came after the IDF fired more than 450 shells at areas in the northern Gaza Strip, using artillery batteries. The fire was mainly targeted at the areas of the evacuated settlements of Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nisanit, and was aimed at deterring and distancing the launching groups.