Qassam rocket (archives)
Photo: Reuters
Thursday's protest
Photo: Amir Cohen
Qassam hits Ashkelon's industrial zone
Rocket fired from northern Gaza Strip lands in open area in seaside city; two mortar shells fired at Kissufim area in southern Israel. No injuries or damage reported in both incidents
A Qassam rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip on Friday morning landed in an open area in the city of Ashkelon's southern industrial zone. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


Two mortar shells were fired at the Kissufim area in southern Israel. There were no injuries or damage in this incident as well. The Salah al-Din Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committee's military wing, claimed responsibility for the mortars fired at Kissufim.


Workers at the Ashkelon industrial zone told Ynet they heard the explosion very well. One of them said, however, that "in recent days there have been a lot of blasts and supersonic explosions and one can no longer know if it's a Qassam or an IDF activity. We thought this explosion was part of the activity as well."


Ashkelon Deputy Mayor Avi Vaknin said, "Unfortunately the Israeli government is completely ignoring us. Last week a rocket landed in the heart of the city, and the rocket fire was unstoppable throughout this week as well. We don't see the IDF responding.


"They let Hamas arm itself and grow stronger for months, and now they are directing they anger at us and there's no response," he added.


On Thursday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered at the main junction at the entrance to Ashkelon to rally against the lack of fortifications in the seaside city to protect residents from ongoing barrages of rockets


Dozens of rockets have been launched at the western Negev in the past two weeks, one of which was a longer-range Grad rocket that wounded 15 in an Ashkelon shopping mall last Wednesday. Residents of the southern city had previously been largely out of rocket range.


Children in the crowd dropped to the ground as protest organizers blared a Color Red alert. Other protesters carried signs reading, "Don't abandon children in the field," "Who will save my house?" and "Ashkelon deserves to have quiet."


"We're sick of the behavior of the military and other sources. People are shooting rockets, missiles at us and no one is responding," said resident Moshe Nisimfor.


Rocket fire from Gaza continued the afternoon of the protest. A Qassam fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed in an open area in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, fortunately not resulting in any casualties.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the security situation in the region, saying that "the recent waves of rocket fire are the result of our actions, which led to the killing of 20 Hamas members. We will continue to use fore, but if the other side works to maintain to truce we will be prepared to do so as well."


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