Injured soldier evacuated to hospital (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)
The shells landed near the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. A soldier sustained light injuries after hitting his head while running for cover. He was evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
The string of events started Monday evening when an IDF force identified a Palestinian moving towards the border fence in the northern Strip. It remains unclear whether he was armed. However, entry into the area in which he was seen is forbidden. The soldiers opened fire at the man, and apparently killed him. In response, Palestinians fired the rockets into Israel.
The IDF force attempted to evacuate the Palestinian from the site when two or three rockets and mortar shells were fired at them. One of the soldiers was lightly injured by shrapnel, and was evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. The Palestinians reported that one Palestinian civilian was killed in the incident.
A search for the duds is currently underway.
"We stood there and heard a very loud blast," said one person who was in the area. "One of the blasts occurred right next to us. It was really terrifying. One of the people next to us yelled out that he was injured. At first, we thought he was injured by shrapnel, but it turned out that he hit his head while trying to take cover."
Security forces rushed to the area. Not far from the spot, hundreds of bathers were on the beach. The police started to evacuate them and even set up road blocks in the area. A popular musical festival is slated to be launched Monday night in the national park in the south of Ashkelon.
Thus far, no notification has been received about cancellations or other special instructions regarding the events. However, the security forces and the police demanded this year that Ashkelon's municipality have increased police and security presence at the event. Israeli musician, Shlomo Artzi, is scheduled to perform Monday at the event.
The last incident of fire into Israel from Gaza occurred some two weeks ago, and included three incidents in three consecutive days, with a mortar shell being fired at the Eshkol Regional Council on the last day.
There were no reports of damage or injury in the previous incidents.
Following the previous attack, Israel Air Force jets bombed a weapons smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip.
Pilots identified a hit in the tunnel. Hamas sources at the time told the Reuters news agency there were no reports of injuries from the strike.