"We are witnessing the expansion of the rocket fire emanating from Gaza to a radius of 30 - 40 kilometers (about 19 – 25 miles)," the deputy commander of the IDF's Home Front Command said Wednesday.
Brigadier-General Avraham Ben-David told reporters that in light of the rocket attacks on Beersheba, all planned events with over 100 participants will be cancelled, including New Year's Eve parties.
Referring to the rocket attack that severely damaged a Beersheba school earlier in the day, Ben-David said the IDF's decision to cancel classes in all of the Negev city's educational institutions "saved lives", adding that school will be out at least until the end of the week.
Ben Gurion University announced that it will also remain closed until the end of the week.
Addressing residents' claims that the city's bomb shelters are run down and uninhabitable, Ben-David said that on Monday the IDF instructed the local municipality to open all of the shelters and make certain that they are fit for use.
The army official said the rocket that struck the school in Beersheba was manufactured in China, is heavier than the Qassam and can "potentially cause much greater damage." He said the rocket contains metal pallets that can spread out across a radius of up to 100 meters (about 328 feet) from the point of impact.