Qassam landing site near Sderot factory
Photo: Amir Cohen
Qassam landing site at Negev kibbutz
Photo: Amir Cohen

5 Qassams fired towards Negev Saturday evening

One rocket hits Sderot factory's courtyard but causes no damage; earlier mortar barrage hits kibbutz, causing damage to cosmetician's office, private home. Residents say atmosphere tense, expect escalation in violence following termination of ceasefire

Four Qassam rockets were fired from northern Gaza Saturday evening towards the city of Sderot in south Israel. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


One of the rockets landed in the courtyard of a local factory, but caused no damage to the site. Another rocket landed near a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, while the third landed near the security fence separating Israel from the Hamas-controlled territory. The landing site of the fourth Qassam has yet to be located.  


The attack on Sderot took place at around 19:30 pm; loud explosions were heard in the city.


The al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's armed wing, claimed responsibility for the barrage, saying it was launched in retaliation for Israel's "continued aggression" and "crimes of the occupation."


At 9:30 pm another Qassam rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


At least 15 Qassams and 26 mortars were fired toward the western Negev region throughout the day.


In the afternoon a barrage of mortar shells and one rocket fell in a kibbutz located within the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council's limits.


Sderot residents in fortified room (Photo: Amir Cohen)


The youth center in the kibbutz suffered damage but no injuries were caused as the residents were told to stay in the fortified rooms. A number of windows were also damaged. An additional 12 mortar shells fell near the border fence in the Eshkol Regional Council.


At 5:20 pm an additional rocket hit the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council. Varda Goldstein, a resident of the kibbutz hit by the barrage told Ynet that "the Color Red alert sounded, we ran to the fortified rooms, and heard two booms one after the other.


"Immediately after we received word to go down to the bomb shelters. We are an unfortified kibbutz and the residents had to stay in the bomb shelter for a half an hour. Now we are allowed to get back to normal, but we still can't go outside."


Damage to structure in Negev (Photo: Amir Cohen) 


The barrage damaged two structures, one of which was a youth center that is currently being used as an office by a cosmetician. The other is a private residence. The cosmetician saw the damage and began to cry, explaining that her home had previously been damaged by a rocket. An emergency response official told Ynet that the roof of the office had been seriously damaged.


Goldstein said the atmosphere in the kibbutz was difficult to bear. "Over the past three days we understood that it was becoming dangerous. There's a lot of tension in the air and many people have just gone away for the week, to rest and get away from the atmosphere."


Alon Shuster, head of Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, told Ynet that "this time the hits were more exact. We are doing everything possible to allow for a normal lifestyle, but clearly in a situation such as this it's very difficult."


An additional two rockets landed south of Ashkelon in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Since the termination of the ceasefire the Palestinians have fired at least 15 rockets towards the western Negev.


In response to this morning's rocket fire the IDF fired a missile towards the Qassam-launching cell. Palestinian sources said an al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade operative was killed in the strike. 


פרסום ראשון: 12.20.08, 18:39
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