Grad rocket in Rahat
Photo: Herzl Yosef
Grad rocket lands in Kiryat Malachi
(Video) Attack marks first time city and its surrounding area targeted by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza; another rocket hits north of Beersheba near Rahat. One person suffers shock as rocket lands in Ashdod area. At least 30 rockets fired toward Israel since late morning hours; IAF jets hit underground tunnels in Rafah area

VIDEO - A Grad rocket fired from northern Gaza landed in the city of Kiryat Malachi on Tuesday afternoon. There were no reports of injuries or damage. The attack marked the first time that the city and its surrounding areas have been targeted.


Kiryat Malachi is located 17 kilometers (11 miles) northeast of Ashkelon and 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Israel's border with Gaza.


Several were fired from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening. One of them exploded in the Ashdod area, without causing damage. Another rocket landed in Ashkelon. A number of people suffered shock in both incidents. Additional rockets landed in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.


The rocket which hit Ashdod exploded in the parking lot of a big factory. One of the workers told Ynet, "Just as I was approaching the gate of the factory with my car I heard the siren, which was followed by a loud explosion. I was in the parking lot only a minute or two earlier. I'm still shaking from the thought that I could have been hit by this rocket."


Many workers asked the factory's management for permission to return home immediately. Magen David Adom rescue crews treated several people for shock. Another rocket exploded in an open area south of Ashkelon.


Earlier, Palestinian sources reported that Israel Air Force jets had attacked underground tunnels in the Rafah area. The IDF confirmed that IAF fighter jets hit dozens of tunnels in the Philadelphi Route used to smuggle weapons from Egypt. The tunnels sustained heavy damage. This was the second time tunnels were bombed since the start of Operation Cast Lead


The IDF released on Tuesday evening footage showing a strike on Hamas' government compound in Gaza in the morning hours. The footage shows blasts causing the buildings in the area to collapse.


Strike on Hamas government compound (Video: IDF Spokesperson's Unit) (צילום: דובר צה"ל)


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Explosions were also heard in Netivot on Tuesday afternoon. One rocket landed north of Beersheba near Rahat. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


Residents in Rahat told Ynet that a rocket alert was sounded in the city before the landing, but many people did not bother to take shelter.


The rocket landed in an open area, some 50 meters (164 feet) from a tin hut and a tent. "Luckily, there were no injuries," said Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sahiban.


He added that "there were children and women in the tent at the time. This war must be stopped and innocent people must be taken into consideration. We are citizens of the State of Israel too, and innocent people are being hurt in Gaza as well. Negotiations must be launched."


IAF strikes continue

Two other rockets landed in open fields near Netivot. No injuries or damage were reported.


Several minutes later additional rockets landed in open areas in the Sha'ar Hanegev, Sdot Negev and Ashkelon Coast regional council. There were no reports of injuries or damage in all incidents.


The IAF strikes in the Gaza Strip continued Tuesday, in a limited manner. Several rocket launching pads and a Hamas post were attacked in the late afternoon hours.


At least 30 rockets have been fired toward Israeli territory since the late morning hours, on this the fourth day of Israel's offensive in Gaza.


On Monday over 100 rockets were fired on Israel, killing three people, 39-year-old Irit Sheetrit, mother of four who was hit in Ashdod; 38-year-old IDF Officer Lutfi Nasraldin from Daliyat el-Carmel, who was hit in an army base near Gaza, and 27-year-old Hani al-Mahdi, who was killed from a rocket attack on an Ashkelon construction site.


Tova Dadon, Ilana Curiel and Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report


First published: 30.12.08, 15:53
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