A Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area in Sderot Thursday. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
Earlier on Thursday, a rocket alarm was sounded in Ashdod and neighboring towns following fire from the Gaza Strip. One rocket apparently exploded in open spaces in the city.
Roughly 30 minutes later, a Qassam rocket landed in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported.
Sderot Mayor David Buskila visited the rocket landing site. "This rocket brings the focus back to Sderot," he said but noted there were no plans to cancel any scheduled events in the city. Buskila called on residents to remain vigilant.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for rocket fire on Beersheba Wednesday, said it will not stand idly by in the face of Israeli threats. In a press conference held in Gaza, the terror group pledged to "retaliate for Israel's crimes." It also condemned the arrests of Islamic Jihad militants and leaders in the West Bank by Palestinian Authority security forces.
A number of Ashdod residents suffered shock, and Ynet received dozens of Red Emails saying loud explosions had been heard in the city.
Galit Harari, who resides in the nearby town of Gan Yavne, told Ynet about her moments of terror. "We heard a loud alarm and ran to the fortified room. Some heard a boom," she said.
Omri Atiach from Ashdod told Ynet, "We all ran scared to the bomb shelters and the entire city shook from the explosion. It was certainly very big and very scary. I'm a student, and there's no way I can study. I can't go on this way. You don't know where it will catch you, you can't sit still. It takes me back to two years ago. People panic and go quiet – it's scary.
Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri arrived at the rocket landing site and said: "Due to recent developments we've decided to cancel classes for a couple of days. We're prepared, the situation is under control."
"This is how it'll be until we're sure the escalation is over. As long as Ashdod is threatened by rockets - schools will be closed, just like during Cast Lead when classes were canceled for a whole month," added Lasri.
Exploded in open space (Photo: Polina Perlman)
A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza exploded in open spaces in Shaar HaNegev Regional Council earlier Thursday, causing no injuries or damage. A short while later a rocket was fired at Eshkol Regional Council.
Meanwhile Palestinian medical sources reported that the IDF had fired tank shells into eastern Gaza, injuring one. The IDF denied the report.
School classes in Beersheba and Ashdod were canceled Thursday due to the attacks, but the Ashkelon Municipality insisted on holding classes as usual. Many children were sent home due to sparse attendance.
Polina Perlman, Shmulik Hadad, Eli Senyor, Yoav Zitun, Tova Dadon and Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report