House hit by Qassam on Wednesday evening
Photo: Yehuda Peretz, Reuters

Qassams hit Negev, IAF strikes in Gaza

Rocket fire continues Thursday morning. Two Qassams hit open areas in southern community, one of them starting fire; no injuries reported. Moments later, Air Force attacks two Qassam launchers in northern Gaza Strip

Two Qassam rockets landed Thursday morning in open areas in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, one of them near a kibbutz. There were no reports of injuries, but one of the rockets started a fire.


Moments later, the Israel Air Force struck two Qassam launchers in the northern Gaza Strip, one of which was used to fire one of Thursday's rocket. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees' military wing, claimed responsibility for firing the rockets.


A few hours later, the Air Force struck an area used by Palestinians to launch Qassam rockets near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.


Haim Yelin, chairman of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, was just leaving the kibbutz as the rocket landed right next to him.


"I began driving, and the rocket flew straight in front of me and landed several meters away from my car. I felt the huge shock wave and the strong explosion. One must understand that life on the road here has become as dangerous as a car accident. It's like a Russian roulette.


"I am now on my way to Ramat Ef'al, where a kibbutz movement rally is being held. It was supposed to take place at Kibbutz Be'eri, but the army decided not to allow it. I decided to go there anyway and tell them what is happening here.


"I feel that life is going on here like in any other country. No one really knows about what is happening here and I have to tell them about it from my personal experience," he said.


On Wednesday evening, a Qassam rocket hit a power-line and an apartment building in the southern town of Sderot.


The rocket hit the roof of Dan and Osnat Ben-Haim's house. The couple and their children were in the fortified room during the attack, but upon seeing the damage caused to the house by the Qassam they suffered shock and were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics.


The family was later taken to the municipal trauma center for further treatment. Meanwhile, angry residents gathered outside the house and slammed the government.


"It's very hard for me to talk about what happened, it was a great miracle," Dan Ben-Haim said about two hours after the attack. "The damage caused to the house is very big, but we were lucky that the damage was only to property and that we weren't hurt. This could have ended in a disaster."


Lieberman: Declare Gaza hostile political entity

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister fro Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday suggested a new political plan calling to declaring Gaza a hostile entity and an enemy state.


The plan's main points include complete severance of ties with the Gaza Strip, isolating the Strip from the West Bank, bombing Gaza in retaliation for Qassam attacks, canceling Palestinian prisoners' visitation rights until kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is released, and ending all contact with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Leading up to the complete separation from Gaza and from that point onward, Israel will treat any security threat coming from the Strip very severely. According to Lieberman's proposal, Israel will work toward thwarting the threat by any means available, just as any sovereign country is meant to do in order to protect its citizens from an enemy attack.


"It's very simple," said Lieberman, "Sderot's fate will be similar to that of the Gazan neighborhood of Rimal, if Sderot is hit, the Rimal neighborhood will be hit just as hard at the very least."


Hanan Greenberg and Ali Waked contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 05.31.07, 08:43
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