Sappers with Qassam rocket
Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman
Rockets hit open areas
Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman

Qassam rockets, mortar shells hit Negev

Gaza vicinity residents wake up to another morning of rocket alerts. Ten Qassams fired from Strip; one directly hits house in Sderot, several people sustain light injuries. Mortar lands near clinic, causing light damage

Gaza vicinity residents awake to another morning of rocket fire: Palestinians fired 10 Qassam rockets towards Israel on Tuesday morning.


Four of the rockets exploded in Sderot and the area, one directly hitting a house, causing damage. Three people sustained light wounds.


Magen David Adom emergency crews tended to three people in Sderot, including a woman who hurt her leg while running to take shelter. She was evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Two people were treated for shock.


Five rockets exploded within the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. Earlier, a rocket hit an open area near the Erez crossing. There were no reports of injuries, but light damage was caused.


The Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Damage caused by rocket (Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman)


Simultaneously, Palestinians fired several mortar shells at a kibbutz in the Eshkol Regional Council. One of the mortars hit the fortified kibbutz clinic, causing light damage. There were no injuries.


"We felt like the community was being ranged," Shlomi Ilan, the kibbutz secretary, told Ynet. "The landings began outside the kibbutz and came closer. There are mortar shells here every day, but they usually land in open areas. Today they managed to cause damage."


Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the situation on the southern front Tuesday morning. "Israel is in a state of conflict with Hamas, rather than in a hudna (ceasefire)," he said while touring the security fence route in Beit Arieh, near the West Bank.


'We got off bus and took cover'

Sderot resident Danny Ben Shimol said, "There was a landing about 100 meters from my house. I saw the rocket and then spotted the smoke from the house it hit. I ran to the area and saw that the walls had been cracked and that a hole opened wide inside the house and that there was heavy damage. Luckily, my children were at school and in the army."

Rocket landing site in Kibbutz Gevim (Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman)


The latest barrage was fired as the region's children were making their way to school. A small fire broke out in an open area near Kibbutz Gevim, and firefighters were dispatched to the area.


One of the students told Ynet about the terrifying morning. "We were on the bus when we heard the Color Red (alert system). The driver told us to take cover.


"We ran to the portable shelters and hid there for several minutes until it was quiet again and we returned to the bus. It was very frightening. I find it hard to believe that we will be able to concentrate on our studies now," she said.


The rockets started several fires in the Kibbutz Gevim area. "It's getting closer. Only last week a child was injured here," said kibbutz member Itzik Hasson.


"Luckily, only a guard post sustained damage. I hope everything will calm down. Despite our fears for our families, the Palestinians will not drive us away from here."


Truce talks still on 

At least 19 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev on Monday in several barrages. The area was also showered with mortar shells.


A house in the southern town of Sderot was damaged Monday afternoon after a rocket landed in its backyard. Several residents suffered from shock, and the lodgers' dog was injured by shrapnel. A Sderot resident was lightly hurt after slipping while running to take shelter.


Monday's barrages were fired following an IDF strike in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, which left a mother and her four children dead. Despite the threats to avenge the killing, representatives of all the Palestinian organizations continue to prepare for another round of talks on a truce with Israel, which will be launched in Cairo on Tuesday.


Meanwhile, the army continues to investigate the incident and has appointed a colonel to present his conclusions within 48 hours.


On Tuesday, Barak also addressed the claims that the IDF is targeting civilians in the Gaza Strip, reiterating that "Hamas is responsible for everything happening in the Gaza Strip. The operations also put civilians in danger. We are not happy when civilians are hurt, but view Hamas as the one to blame."


Ze'ev Trachtman, Yonat Atlas, Ali Waked and Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 04.29.08, 08:43
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