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Retaliatory fire. Qassams (Archives) Photo: AFP
Retaliatory fire. Qassams (Archives) Photo: AFP
 
 

Qassams, mortars hit western Negev

Palestinian militants launch Qassam rockets, mortar shells at western Negev communities in retaliation to IDF's nightly operation in Gaza; MDA ups local state of alert

Yonat Atlas
Latest Update: 12.18.07, 15:28 / Israel News

Several Qassam rockets and mortar shells were fired from northern Gaza towards the western Negev area Tuesday. One rocket damaged a henhouse in one of the surrounding communities; no injuries were reported.

 

The IDF confirmed that Palestinian militants fired several Qassam rockets at Israel since the early hours of the morning. Five rockets have yet to be located.

 

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The western Negev communities fear a harsher rocket salvo will follow, as IDF forces continue to operate in the Gaza Strip.

 

Military forces have been targeting Islamic Jihad cells and operatives in Gaza since Monday night, killing 10 operatives so far, including the head of the organization's Qassam rocket cells and their Jenin forces' commander.

 

The Islamic Jihad announced retaliatory action is underway, as its spokesman vowed the "organization will respond to this grave Israeli crime over the course of the following days."

 

Following Tuesday morning's rocket landings, and as a precautionary measure, Magen David Adom emergency services' Director General Eli Bin has raised the organization's alertness level in the Negev area to emergency status B – just one level below the organization highest state of alert.

 

'Life goes on'

Meanwhile, Sderot residents said Tuesday that even though the IDF strikes stand to impact them directly, they were justified.

 

“We need to put a price on every Qassam… the IDF must launch these kind of strikes everyday, not just sporadically,” said Tzuri Chen, a local resident. “I know that we will pay the price for these raids, but it is definitely justified this time.”

 

Sderot Mayor, Eli Moyal, describes life in the battered city as a “tense routine”: “Ultimately it is up to the security forces to say what will happen next.

 

"We are currently in the same state of tense routine but life goes on. There is fear and stress, but there is nothing we can do but remain prepared for the worst case scenario, and hope for the best,” he said.

 

Shmulik Hadad, Efrat Weiss and Ali Waked contributed to this report

 

 

First Published: 12.18.07, 09:33

 

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