Qassam rocket in Negev
Photo: Zeev Trachtman
Despite talk of truce, Gaza rockets fired at Ashkelon
Amid Egyptian efforts to broker ceasefire between Israel and armed Palestinian groups, two rockets fired from Hamas-ruled territory towards Ashkelon overnight; one apparently intercepted by Iron Dome; no injuries

On Wednesday the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades said Gaza's armed groups are ready to end current round of escalation, but the rocket fire on south Israel continues: Two rockets were fired from the Hamas-ruled territory towards Ashkelon overnight Thursday.


One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the second rocket landed in an open area south of the city. No one was hurt.


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Hamas video documenting rocket fire


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At approximately 1:30 pm a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in open territory in th Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No one was wounded and no damaged was caused.


Earlier, at around 7:30 am, five rockets landed in the Negev's Eshkol Regional Council, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.


No less than 70 rockets hit Israel's southern region on Wednesday.


Following the attack on Ashkelon, Mayor Benny Vaknin ordered local elementary schools to remain closed Thursday. The mayor reached the decision following consultations with security establishment officials and parent committee representatives.


"The parents' committee representatives told me their children barely slept last night because of the sirens, and some of them suffer from anxiety. After consulting with security officials I decided to keep the schools closed," the mayor said.


"Despite the attempts to reach a ceasefire, two rockets were fired at the city overnight. We cannot count on it. The residents' safety is the most important thing."


High school and middle school students have already begun their summer vacation.


Attempts to broker ceasefire

Hamas' announcement followed efforts by Egypt to broker a ceasefire. The past three days have seen Gaza terrorists shell southern Israel almost incessantly, with over 120 Qassam rockets and mortars hitting western Negev communities.


"The current confrontation with the enemy was kept to a minimal exchange of fire – and it is best that the Israeli leaders understand that," the Izz al-Din al-Qassam statement said.


Despite the statement, at approximately 11 pm Wednesday three mortars were fired towards open areas in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. No injuries were reported.


At around 2 am the "Color Red" alert system was activated in Ashkelon and blasts were heard in the city – apparently due to the interception of a rocket by the Iron Dome system.


The current round of violence began on Monday when two Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed while trying to target IDF vehicles. Another six Palestinians were killed in an Israel Air Force strike in Gaza since then.


According to the Palestinians, a 14-year-old boy was killed Wednesday in an aerial attack on Gaza City. is father was injured, the sources claimed.



First published: 21.06.12, 08:35
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