Four rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed in Israel Tuesday evening. No injuries or damages were reported in the attacks.
One Qassam fell on an IDF base south of the town of Ashkelon, two Qassams landed in open fields north and south of Sderot and one rocket fell in the western Negev. The exact location of the fourth Qassam has not yet been found.
IDF base where the Qassam was found (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)
The IDF responded by firing artilleries rounds at open fields in the Gaza Strip used by Palestinians to launch Qassam rockets into Israel
The rocket that landed in the army base was launched from northern Gaza and was targeted at southern Ashkelon.
Officers on the base told Ynet that the rocket fell in an area between the offices and tents used to house the soldiers.
While this is the first time a Qassam has landed in an army base, the IDF estimated in the past that this would occur following Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, as the base is situated south of Ashkelon near the border.
Following a security assessment in light of Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip, a series of preventative measures were taken to ensure the safety of the base. Furthermore, it seems the base is to be evacuated within the year - among other reasons - due to its location.
Notably, Tuesday's Qassam was aimed at the town of Ashkelon and not at the IDF base.
'Children are scared, the government does nothing'
Sderot mayor Eli Moyal said Tuesday that he feared the residents of his town were losing patience.
"The situation is severe in Sderot," he said. "During the day there are Qassams and at night we don't sleep because of the IDF shelling. The children are scared and the government is not doing anything."
"It's pure luck that the Qassams
land in open fields and people are not killed - it is really only luck, he added.
Moyal slammed the army's policy regarding a response to Qassam fire, saying the IDF fires shells that have passed their expiration date.
"They also fire at open fields because they don't really plan to eliminate Qassam fire. If they had intended on seriously operating, they would not fire old shells and certainly would not fire at open fields, something which has no effect."
Mofaz: Ground operation not on agenda
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz visited Israel’s border with the northern Gaza Strip Tuesday and received a situation evaluation from IDF commanders. Mofaz ruled out the possibility of Israel launching a ground operation in the Gaza Strip to halt Qassam fire.
“We are preparing for all options. A ground operation is not on the agenda at the moment. We have plenty of room for other maneuvers at the time being,” Mofaz said.
Mofaz said the IDF will continue to act against terror cells in the Gaza Strip, giving no details of the nature of future military operations. The defense minister said the IDF will not enter the Gaza Strip to occupy Qassam launching grounds.
He noted that the IDF thwarted a number of attacks over the last few days. A suicide bomber was arrested Monday when he attempted to infiltrate Israel from the Gaza Strip.
“The terrorists want to smuggle suicide bombers into Israel through the Karni crossing,” he said.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report