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Mortar fire from Gaza (Archive) Photo: AP
Mortar fire from Gaza (Archive) Photo: AP
 
 

Mortar barrage hits Negev; no injuries

About 10 mortar shells fired from Gaza hit open areas near western Negev communities shortly after 9:30 am; no injuries or damage reported. Earlier Friday Qassam rocket launched by Palestinian gunmen lands within Palestinian territory

Ilana Curiel
Published: 02.20.09, 09:52 / Israel News

A barrage of about 10 mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip landed in open fields in the Eshkol Regional Council on Friday. The shells were launched shortly after 9:30 am. No injuries or damage were reported in the attack.

 

Military sources estimated that the mortar fire was part of a botched attempt by Palestinians to carry out an attack against the IDF. The mortar shells were fired at an army force operating near the Kissufim crossing. The force responded with fire.

 

Earlier, a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza exploded within Palestinian territory, near the border fence.

 

The region's residents have already gotten used to the daily routine of explosions and sirens. "We get this kind of activity here all the time," said Eshkol resident Shlomi Ilan. "We take a lot of hits… the problem is that there is no government to deal with this now." Ilan warned that what were currently relatively restrained attacks could easily turn into a full blown assault.

 

Another resident, Sara Shaked, said" We hear military activity and explosions, but we don't know what's going on. While we don't feel that there's any danger, we're worried that the fire will increase.

 

"However, despite everything I believe we should wait until Gilad Shalit's release before there's a truce, even if this means we have to continue to suffer attacks," she added.

 

Thursday evening saw one Qassam land in an open area in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council shortly after 6:00 pm, near the town of Sderot. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused. Some two hours later another rocket landed in an open area near Netivot. No injuries were reported.

 

In recent days the IDF has been responding to the rocket and mortar fire emanating from Gaza by attacking smuggling tunnels in the southern part of the Strip.

 

Earlier on Thursday the IAF struck targets near the city of Rafah. Palestinian sources reported that the attacks focused on the Philadelphi Route, bordering on Egypt.

 

Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report

 

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