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8 Qassams hit western Negev
Most rockets believed to have landed in open areas in Eshkol Regional Council; no injuries reported, several houses sustain damage. Transfer of 30 trucks of humanitarian equipment into Gaza scheduled for Monday put on hold following attack

Eight Qassam rockets were fired at communities in the western Negev's Eshkol Regional Council on Monday morning. There were no reports of injuries but several houses were damaged. Residents of the Eshkol Regional Council were ordered to enter fortified rooms.

 

The Al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, claimed responsibility for the attack. Following the barrage, the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip was put on hold.

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Several explosions were heard south of Sderot at around 10:10 am. Most of the rockets landed in open fields, but one exploded in a kibbutz in the area, damaging a number of houses.

 

One of the residents of the area told Ynet, "I was at my aunt's house in one of the towns in the council that is not fortified. We heard three Color Red alerts, each time there were two or three booms.

 

"My aunt's friend who was with us at the time asked her, 'What should we do? Where should we run?' I told her, 'There is no where to run' and we just held each other. People were panicked and we didn't know how to act."

 

'Not a minute of calm'

Head of Eshkol Regional Council Haim Yalin said, "In four communities, including education institutes, a Color Red alert was heard. We are always alert, and luckily we were ready for this. You must understand, in Eshkol Regional Council there is not a minute of calm."

 

Earlier Monday, the defense establishment decided to allow 30 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. Most of the equipment was to be brought to the Strip by international aid agencies.

 

The decision to allow aid to enter Gaza, despite the continued mortar and Qassam attacks on Israel, was made following another defense establishment discussion in the matter.

 

The aid sent to Gaza was to include humanitarian equipment, food and medications. Nonetheless, it was decided that fuel and other goods would not be allowed into the Strip until further notice.

 

Attacks on Israel continued all through the weekend, and Sunday afternoon a Color Red alert was sounded in Sderot and Gaza vicinity communities. Residents entered bomb shelters and a rocket landed in the yard of a house lightly wounding one of the residents. Two others suffered from shock.

 

Increased international pressure has been placed on Israel to allow humanitarian equipment into Gaza in recent days, despite the attacks.

 

Amnesty International urged the government to put an end to what they called its "policy of collective punishment", and claimed the humanitarian crisis in the Strip was becoming more severe.

 

European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner also said she was "profoundly concerned about the consequences for the Gazan population of the complete closure of all Gaza crossings for deliveries of fuel and basic humanitarian assistance" and called on Israel to reopen the crossings.

 

Hanan Greenberg and Ali Waked contributed to this report

 


פרסום ראשון: 11.17.08, 08:09
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