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Deputy Defense Minister Vilna'i Photo: Gil Yohanan
Deputy Defense Minister Vilna'i Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
Qassam hit (archive) Photo: Amir Cohen
Qassam hit (archive) Photo: Amir Cohen
 
 

Rocket, mortar barrages hit Negev

Palestinian gunmen fire three Qassam rockets, 13 mortar shells from northern Gaza Strip toward Israel; no injuries or damage reported. One rocket lands near paratroopers company's reunion event attended by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i. Alert system activated as head of local council tells participants about residents' distress

Ali Waked
Published: 08.17.07, 19:16 / Israel News

Palestinians gunmen on Friday evening fired three Qassam rockets and 12 mortar shells from the northern Gaza Strip toward southern Israel. The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

 

Two Qassam rockets were fired at the western Negev at around 6 pm. One rocket landed near Sderot. Another rocket hit a kibbutz south of Asheklon. A third rocket launched several minutes later landed near a community in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.

 

Launching Cells
Fertilizer shortages hamper rocket fire / Ali Waked
Shortages in raw materials slowing production of makeshift rockets, lead to decline in rocket fire from Gaza
Full story
There were no reports of injuries or damage in all incidents.

 

The third rocket landed near a reunion event of a paratroopers company from August 1962, which was attended by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i, one of the company's squad commanders.

 

Alon Shuster, head of the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, who hosted the assembly, told the participants about the situation in the area, when the Color Red alert system was suddenly activated.

 

The rocket landed not far from the place where the event was being held, but did not cause any injuries or damage.

 

After the Qassam landed, Shuster told the participants that this was local residents' daily reality. He also took advantage of the meeting in order to discuss the situation with Vilna'i.

 

"I told Vilna'i that we have unfortunately enough of the promises and that the government must make a decision – either halt this rocket fire or fortify all the houses of the residents here, because I keep on hearing excuses.

 

"We had an explicit commitment from the prime minister, and I have no doubt that this situation is slowly weakening our stamina, because if the government thinks that people will live without fortification for long, they are simply wrong.

 

"The situation is intolerable. It will cause people to burst and do things I don’t even want to imagine," he concluded.

 

13 mortar shells land in Negev

An hour earlier, Palestinians gunmen fired a barrage of six mortar shells at the western Negev, which did not cause any injuries or damage. On Friday evening, gunmen fired seven more mortars, which landed in open areas.

 

On Sunday, Ynet reported that shortages in fertilizers used by Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip to produce makeshift rockets have led to a decrease in the number of rockets fired towards Israel.

 

Ynet found that Palestinian terror groups prefer to save their rockets for rainy days.

 

The shortages have been blamed on Egypt's clampdown on smugglers operating along the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel's closure of border crossings used to transfer goods into the coastal territory. The price of a kilo of fertilizer rose from $20 to $50.

 

Palestinian operatives confirmed the shortages to Ynet but said they still had large quantities of rockets stored in secret caches.

 

"In addition to the smugglings, our people are producing a similar substitute. But the shortages also apply to materials we use to produce fertilizers and substitutes to it and therefore there is a crisis and the situation is difficult," one operative said.

 

Shmulik Hadad contributed to the report

 

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