Qassam near Netivot
Photo: Roy Idan

Sunday evening: Rocket fire resumes; alert system to be activated in Ashdod

Four Qassams, six mortars fired toward Negev, bringing Wednesday's total to more than 60. Rocket alert system to be activated in Ashdod, city official says 'only a matter of time before we're attacked'

Following an hour and a half-long lull, the rocket attacks on Israel resumed Wednesday evening, as at least two Qassams fired from northern Gaza landed in the western Negev.


One rocket landed in an open area within the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council's limits at around 17:30, but resulted in no injuries or damage. Another Qassam fired a short while later a second Qassam landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


At around 7 pm six mortar shells landed in open spaces in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported.


More than 60 rockets and mortars were fired toward Israel from Gaza since Tuesday night; more than 40 Israelis suffered from shock and extensive damage was caused to a number of structures.


Hamas' armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said earlier that the rocket and mortar attacks were launched "to avenge the killing" of three of its members by the Israeli army near the Gaza security fence late on Tuesday.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Wednesday's rocket attacks on the Negev "unfortunate and difficult" and encouraged a renewal of the truce.


"Our people are facing attacks and blockade, we are making all efforts for a full truce and for the security situation to calm down," he said.


'Matter of time before Ashdod attacked'

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen ordered reinforcements to the Southern District due to the escalation in rocket fire towards Israel.


The commissioner also ordered officers to prepare for incidents that may take place in other areas of conflict throughout the country.


It was further reported that the "Color Red" system, which warns of incoming projectiles, will be activated in the southern city of Ashdod Wednesday evening amid the incessant barrages emanating from the Hamas-controlled enclave.


"Today it is clear that it is only a matter of time before Ashdod is attacked," a city official said. "With the activation of the alert system, a siren will sound 45 seconds before the rockets land here."


Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin told government ministers last week that Hamas' military wing has obtained improved rockets and is now capable of reaching Kiryat Gat, Ashdod and even the Beersheba vicinity.


Also on Wednesday, the National Security Cabinet held a special session to discuss the escalation in the south. The ministers were briefed on the current situation and Israel's possible retaliation


The cabinet also discussed global Jihad and declared 35 al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked groups as terror organizations.


Efrat Weiss and AP contributed to the report 


פרסום ראשון: 12.24.08, 19:10
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