Initial reports said four Qassam rockets landed in the area, one not far from Netivot. Hours later, sappers located the rocket’s remains, and transferred them to an explosives lab, which determined the rocket was in fact a Grad-type Katyusha rocket.
The Salah-al-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the mortar shell attack, and claimed the rocket that landed near the Netivot cemetery was a new and improved type of mortar shell.
The eight mortar shells, which were launched from the northern Gaza Strip, landed in the Eshkol Regional Council kibbutz of Keren Shalom. One of the shells hit a house, causing a fire. Fire fighters rushed to the scene; no one was injured.
“Luckily for us, the kibbutz dwellings are fortified, and the open areas of the kibbutz are also fortified. I really hope something is done to stop the shooting,” said Eli Aharon, deputy head of the Eshkol Regional Council.
The three Qassam rockets, also launched from the northern Gaza Strip, landed in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. No one was injured and no damage was reported.
The Grad-type Katyusha rocket landed in an open field, some 400 meters from a cemetery in Netivot.
“I heard the explosion when I woke up this morning, and since I work in Sderot, I’ve gotten to know that terrible noise. I’m very concerned, I have no strength to deal with Qassams in my town too, I already work in dangerous conditions, and I don’t want to come home and continue to be afraid,” said Netivot resident Shlomi Chen.
Kerem Shalom manager Ilan Regev told Ynet that mortar shells frequently landed in the kibbutz. “It’s scary, but we live with it. This is the first time a house was directly hit. Before, windowpanes were broken, but never something like this,” Regev said.
Last week, 10 Qassam rockets and some 20 mortar shells were launched towards Israel in response to an IDF operation in Beit Hanoun. About 10 of the mortar shells landed in Israel; no injuries or damages were reported.
The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Shmulik Hadad contributed to this article