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Qassam in Sderot (Archive photo) Photo: Amir Cohen
Qassam in Sderot (Archive photo) Photo: Amir Cohen
 
Mourning in Beit Hanoun Photo: Reuters
Mourning in Beit Hanoun Photo: Reuters
 
 

Sderot: Qassam hits public institution

More than 20 rockets land in western Negev since tragic incident in Beit Hanoun. Three rockets fired Thursday, one of them causes great panic; central building in Sderot suffers damage. Police on highest alert across country for fear of terror attacks

Shmulik Hadad
Published: 11.09.06, 10:31 / Israel News

Three Qassam rockets landed Thursday morning in the western Negev. Two of the rockets landed inside the Eshkol Regional Council without causing any damage, and a third rocket landed in the southern town of Sderot, near a public institution.

 

The building and several cars suffered damage, and a number of people suffered from shock.

 

"The rocket landed a few meters away from one of the offices, and the senior employee was at his room at the time," one of the people present at the place told Ynet. Some 300 people visit the building daily.

 

"Panic broke out at the place, but unfortunately we are already used to the Qassam fire. Some managed to reach secured areas, and hope – but don’t really believe – that this will be the last rocket."

 

Since the accidental shelling of houses in Beit Hanoun Wednesday, which claimed the lives of 19 Palestinians – most of them members of one family – more than 20 rockets were fired at Israel.

 

The Israel Defense Forces recently completed a wide-scale operation in the northern Gaza Strip town, which was aimed at reducing the amount of rockets fired.

 

Southern Command were satisfied with Operation Autumn Clouds, but estimated that the fire would not be halted completely. As of Wednesday, it increased significantly.

 

Rafah crossing opened

The grave incident in Beit Hanoun caused the defense minister to instruct the IDF to halt its artillery fire at the Strip, which was carried out in order to "deter" the Qassam cells.

 

The activity, however, was not halted. On Wednesday evening, two Palestinians were killed in an air strike in Gaza's Zaitun neighborhood, including Ahmed Awad, who Israel viewed as the person responsible for manufacturing and launching Qassams.


Operation in Jenin, Thursday morning (Photo: Reuters)

 

The IDF also operated in the West Bank Thursday morning. Soldiers fired and injured an armed Palestinian in the Jenin refugee camp. The force besieged a building in which several gunmen were hiding, and exchanges of fire erupted in the area, injuring the Palestinian. There were no injuries among the soldiers.

 

Palestinian sources reported that the Palestinians was seriously wounded and that he was an Islamic Jihad activist, the last person remaining from the Louie Saadi group, which carried out most of the organization's terror attacks in Israel in the past year.

 

Since Wednesday, the police have been on high alert across the country, with 80 security warnings on plans to carry out terror attacks. The shell in Beit Hanoun united all the terror organizations, which called to operate inside Israel.

 

On Thursday afternoon, the internal security ministers is expected to hold a renewed evaluation of the situation, which will also address the issue of holding the gay pride parade in Jerusalem in such a sensitive timing.

 

In spite of the high alert, the IDF on Thursday morning opened the Rafah crossing in both directions, as well as the Ein Bidan crossing, east of Nablus, from where residents leave to and return from the Jordan Valley.

 

Efrat Weiss and Ali Waked contributed to the report

 

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