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Night of Mortars

Qassam-struck building (archives) Photo: AP
Qassam-struck building (archives) Photo: AP
 
 

Dozens of mortar shells fired at Negev

Palestinian gunmen fire dozens of mortar shells at Eshkol Regional Council overnight. No injuries reported, vacant building damaged

Ilana Curiel
Published: 12.26.08, 08:00 / Israel News

Dozens of mortar shells were fired from the northern Gaza Strip in a number of barrages Thursday night.

 

One shell hit a vacant building in Eshkol Regional Council. No one was injured, but damage was caused to the building. The windows of two other houses were shattered from the powerful blast.

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Eshkol Regional Council Deputy Security Officer Niki Levi said over 20 mortar shells were fired at communities in the council. Most of the shells landed in open fields in the council.

 

Secretary of one of the Council's communities Iris Lavi told Ynet, "We had a rough night. One of the mortar shells fell on one of the neighbor's lawns, between two buildings, but luckily, only the windows were damaged and no one was hurt.

 

"Over the night I heard a number of strong blasts. We were up until 4 am. Today we will evaluate the extent of the damage that was caused overnight. It's frightening when it happens and your child is with you. The children slept in the bomb shelter last night."

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided on Thursday to open Gaza crossings and allow the passage of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

 

Earlier this week a similar decision was made, but following the ongoing rocket attacks the defense minister decided last minute to keep the crossings closed.

 

Friday morning Israel began transferring humanitarian aid into Gaza despite continued mortar fire on Israel's southern communities.

 

The army said the first of an expected 40 trucks have started to deliver medicine, fuel, cooking gas and other vital goods on Friday to Gaza. Israel's Defense Ministry agreed to open two of the three main cargo crossings into Gaza as part of its policy of avoiding a humanitarian crisis there.

 

Eshkol Regional Council Head Haim Yalin commented on the transfer of goods to the Gaza Strip, saying, "I had hoped that after a night like this, when dozens of mortar shells and Qassams were fired, that the crossings would remain closed.

 

"I have to say that I no longer understand what the considerations are regarding the continued transfer of goods to the Palestinians 'for humanitarian needs'. Why are the humanitarian needs always one sided?"

 

Thursday evening a rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed near Ashkelon's southern industrial zone. There were no reports of injury or damage.

 

A total of six Qassam rockets and over 10 mortal shells were fired at the Negev Thursday evening.

 

The IDF are continuing to prepare for an operation in Gaza. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi sent a threatening message to Hamas, saying, "This reality cannot go on and we will have to apply our full force to strike the terror infrastructure and create a different security reality around the Gaza Strip."

 

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