Cars damaged by rocket in southern kibbutz
Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman

Rocket hits southern Ashkelon

Air raid siren sounds in southern city at around 1:50 pm Sunday, followed by blast; no injuries or damage reported. Earlier, Qassam rocket lands in parking lot in western Negev kibbutz, damaging cars

Cairo, Jerusalem discuss ceasefire while rocket fire continues: A rocket landed in southern Ashkelon on Sunday afternoon. An air raid siren sounded in the area at around 1:50 pm, followed by a blast. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


Amit, an Ashkelon resident, told Ynet, "Several minutes ago I heard a very weak Color Red alert. We usually don’t hear the Color Red alarm in the city, and this time it was activated. A moment later I heard a boom."


The siren system in the city's southern industrial zone was amplified recently, so that Ashkelon's southern neighborhood could hear the alarm from there.


One of the workers in the area said, "We were warned through our internal loudspeaker system, and then we heard the siren. We ran into the portable shelters and then heard a very loud explosion. We later learned that it had landed right next to us."


The laborers went back to work several minutes later.


Acting Ashkelon Mayor Shlomo Cohen, who is also in charge of city's security, said that the municipality held a consultation on the matter.


"We are very concerned by this rocket fire, and even now when talks are being held on a 12 or 18-month truce, we cannot continue living with trickles of unstoppable fire. Therefore, we have demanded that the Home Front Command fortify the schools so that the education system would be able to function under such conditions," he said.


Ongoing fire

On Sunday morning, a Qassam rocket hit a parking lot in a kibbutz within the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries, but several cars caught fire. The Color Red alert system was activated in the western Negev at around 6:30 am.


On Friday, two rockets landed south of the city of Ashkelon and near a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. The Israel Air Force responded to the attack by striking tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip.


Alon Schuster, head of the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, told Ynet following Friday's rocket fire, "The decision on this matter should be either a military operation or diplomatic action, but we have gotten used to the fact that they took a policy in which nothing was done. I believe the fact that the elections are near will not contribute to a response to the rockets."


Meanwhile, the discussions on a truce continued Sunday in Cairo. According to diplomats quoted by Reuters, the Egyptian proposal to stabilize post-war Gaza calls for an extended truce between Israel and Hamas, a prisoner exchange and the initial opening of at least two of the enclave's border crossings.


Under the proposal, Israel would halt attacks in the Gaza Strip and Hamas would stop cross-border rocket fire for up to 18 months. That would take the place of a shaky January 18 truce that ended Israel's 22-day offensive in which more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed. Fourteen Israelis have died since December 27, when the fighting broke out.


In the second phase of the proposal, Israel would agree to swap some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in its custody for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants in 2006. Palestinian officials have reported progress in those talks.


פרסום ראשון: 02.08.09, 14:06
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