One man was lightly-to-moderately wounded after an upgraded Qassam rocket landed in the Old Muslim Cemetery near Ashkelon’s city market on Monday. The wounded man evacuated himself independently to the Barzilai Hostpial for treatment. MDA paramedics treated several people at the scene for shock.
Warning sirens blared throughout the city immediately prior to the landing.
Several residents reported hearing a number of blasts.
"The siren went off and we ran for the fortified room. The kids have gotten used to it by now," recalled Motti, a resident of Ashkelon.
"The government is making a joke out of us," he charged, "they're talking about ceasefires while the other side is bombing us; what kind of a truce is this? It's either a truce or war. We feel like we’re being misled.
"And the situation is only serving the terrorists at the moment. The government is hesitant, they can see he (Prime Minister Ehud Olmert) is unsure of himself. A man like that cannot lead the government. The situation is not good – both my kids jump every time they hear a car honking.”
Rami Amosi saw the smoke billowing from his office window. “I heard the siren but had no time to react. Shortly after that we saw smoke rising from the crash site. We’ll wait for elections; I guess everyone’s busy with more ‘important’ stuff.”
Earlier on Monday IDF troops killed three Palestinian gunmen advancing towards the security fence in southern Gaza. Givati infantry soldiers crossed the border into Gaza in pursuit of the gunmen and opened fire at them. A subsequent search revealed two explosive devices that had been concealed on their persons, in addition to assault rifles and a video camcorder.
President Shimon Peres, who visited Gaza-vicinity communities in the morning, said after his briefing with residents and council heads that “we must examine how to shorten the alert period, the situation is far from being simple here,” adding that “we must do everything we can to make it easier on the residents.”
Meanwhile, truce talks are forging ahead in Cairo. Hamas prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said “The Egyptian-mediated truce talks with Israel are nearing a successful end.” According to Haniyeh, “we are obligated to all the demands pertaining to mutual cease fire starting in Gaza and continuing in the West Bank.”
Roi Mandel contributed to this report.