VIDEO - Gaza vicinity communities suffered an almost unprecedented Qassam barrage Sunday morning, following the massive fire witnessed over the weekend.
"We have decided to make Sderot a ghost town," said a spokesman for Hamas who gave his name as Abu Ubeideh. "We are not going to stop launching our rockets until they leave."
Ever since the assassination of Popular Resistance Committees chief Jamal Abu Samhadana and the tragic incident in which seven Palestinian family members were killed on the Gaza beach, apparently by an IDF shell, the terror organizations have failed to halt their fire.
Over the weekend, 19 rockets were counted on the Israeli side, and they were joined by 14 additional rockets on Sunday morning.
The Israel Defense Forces is currently refraining for responding following Defense Minister Amir Peretz's instruction to suspend artillery fire until the inquiry into the Beit Lahiya disaster is completed.
Sderot school (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Four rockets landed in the Sderot area, one rocket falling inside an elementary school and another landing nearby. As a result, the building suffered damage.
One man was lightly injured and was evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where his condition deteriorated and he was rushed into surgery in critical condition. He is suffering from a shock wave and shrapnel in his stomach. Two other people were treated for shock on the scene of the attack.
Rocket removed from falling site (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Only on Saturday night, the parents of children studying in the school which was hit announced that the school would be put on strike following the deterioration in the security situation. However, several students arrived at the school and their parents rushed to take them back home.
One of the parents, Ilan Buhbut, told Ynet that "the rocket landed just next to the first grade classrooms. As a result, a school worker was hurt and two other teachers were in shock."
"Unfortunately, the structures here are unfortified and very dangerous. What is more frustrating is the fact that the shelters we were promised are standing and are not being used. We hope the authorities understand that the children's lives are in real danger," he added.
One of the rockets fired Sunday morning landed in the southern Ashkelon industrial zone and hit a metal factory. There were no injuries, but the factory suffered damage.
City on strike
The Red Dawn alert system detected the launching of six other rockets at the western Negev, one of them landing in an open area near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, two falling at sea and another one possibly landing on Palestinian territory.
The system detected the launching of another two rockets, one toward Kibbutz Nahal Oz and the other toward Kibbutz Mefalsim. In addition, three explosions were heard in the Gizim area, but the alert system was not activated there. There were no reports of injuries or damage in all incidents.
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal met with the prime minister's military secretary and the Prime Minister's Officer director-general just as the Qassams began falling. Moyal told them in detail about the harsh reality experienced by his town's resident over the weekend and the night. The prime minister's aides conveyed a message to the residents that they have Ehud Olmert's support.
Moyal, on his part, decided to put the schools in Sderot on strike for the day and asked the parents to pick up all the school students and kindergarten children and take them home.
The mayor told Ynet that it was not a strike or a protest, but a way to protect the children's lives following information he received. He added that the municipality would evaluate the situation during the day and would then decide whether to keep the schools closed in the coming days.
Several residents from Sderot, members of the "Let Sderot resident live" forum, decided to launch a hunger strike outside Defense Minister Amir Peretz's house in protest of the ongoing Qassam fire on their town.
AP contributed to the report