VIDEO - IDF pulls out from Gaza, but rocket fire continues: Three Grad rockets were fired at Ashkelon on Monday morning, one hitting a seven-story building and the second landing in a playground.
Video courtesy of infolive.tv
Twenty-eight people were evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in the city, most of them suffering from shock. Two people sustained light wounds.
The apartment hit by the rocket belongs to a senior officer serving in the Gaza Division, Ynet has learned. The officer, who took part in Operation Warm Winter in Gaza, heard about his house being hit by a Grad rocket, and returned to Ashkelon to observe the damage.
The Color Red rocket alert system was activated in the city at around 8:45 am. Several minutes later the IDF attacked a Qassam launching cell spotted near rocket launching pads in the northern Strip. Shortly afterwards, three Qassam rockets landed in the Sderot area and south of Ashkelon.
One of the Grad rockets fired at Ashkelon caused great damage to the building. Police Commander David Bitan said that there were no injuries in the apartment hit by the rocket, as the family members were in a secured room.
Apartment hit by Grad rocket (Photo: Tani Goldstein)
Another rocket landed near a kindergarten in the city, where dozens of children were beginning their day.
As the nursery teachers wiped their tears, they told Ynet that the Color Red alert system was not heard in the kindergarten.
"How is it possible that the rocket alert is not heard in a kindergarten with 100 children? What were we to do if the missile had moved a little and landed on us?" asked Pnina Lavi, one of the teachers.
The residents of the city, which has been struck by dozens of rockets over the past few days, were terrified.
"We knew the rockets would reach Ashkelon, but the moment it hits your house it's completely different," said city resident Avi Shani. "Everyone here is trembling with fear. One can only be afraid in such a situation."
Terrified parents evacuate their children from kindergarten (Photo: Tani Goldstein)
Ashkelon resident Eitan Bar-Ilan told Ynet, "There was a Color Red alarm, which was relatively weak. Several seconds later we heard the two explosions. We heard ambulances less than a minute later. There are two floors in our house, so we went down to the lower floor, which is safer."
Qassams in Sderot
Earlier Monday, three Qassam rockets fired from northern Gaza landed near the southern town of Sderot. A fourth rocket landed near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Three rockets landed in the Eshkol Regional Council limits, one landing near a school.
On Monday afternoon, two Qassam rockets landed in the Shaar Hanegev area. No injuries or damage were reported in either incident.
Sunday saw dozens of Qassam, Grad rockets and mortar shell fired at the western Negev: Two rockets landed in Sderot – one hit a house and caused several people to suffer shock; and the other hit a power transformer, which caught on fire, causing a temporary blackout in the area.
A Grad rocket fired at Ashkelon on Sunday hit a house in the city's center. One girl suffered mild shrapnel injuries. Three children were in the house at the time of the Color Red alert – all three rushed to their secure room, thus avoiding any serious injury.
Firefighters were called to the scene of the Ashkelon house, where they attempted to control the damage. Three buildings in the house's vicinity were damaged as well.
Several rockets fired Sunday landed at Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira's (the Baba Sali) gravesite in Netivot.
Magen David Adom Director General Eli Bin instructed MDA personnel in the area to open free CPR classes in Ashkelon, making them available to all those who wish to learn life-saving measures.
The Ashkelon Municipality, along with the Israeli Deaf Society, intends to distribute 140 Color Red pagers throughout the city. Similar pagers were distributed in Sderot in the past.
Shmulik Hadad contributed to this report