A Qassam rocket fired from northern Gaza Saturday night hit the roof of a building in an educational institution located in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, outside of Sderot. There were no reports of injury.
Security forces and firefighters were alerted to the scene. On firefighter reported seeing smoke billowing from the building. "I have no doubt that had there been people in the building – it would have been a major disaster. It's a miracle," he said, adding that "serious" damage was caused to three rooms.
The "Color Red" siren warned residents of the incoming projectile.
Alon Shuster, head of Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, said, "The most severe problem here is that in January 2010 the government approved a budget for the fortification of educational institutions and kindergartens in the region, but seven months later and the fortification has yet to be completed."
The Ashkelon Parents' Committee said the attack underscores the need to fortify the city's educational institutions. On Friday the committee decided not to open the school year until the schools are fortified.
The current round of violence along Israel's border with Gaza began Friday morning, when a Grad rocket fired from the Hamas-ruled territory landed near an apartment building in central Ashkelon. A few hours later two mortars landed within the limits of the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no reports of injury in either attack, but eight people suffered from shock in Ashkelon.
The IDF responded on Friday night with an aerial attack on targets in Gaza, during which senior Hamas figure Issa al-Batran was reportedly killed.
State officials postulated Friday that the Grad rocket fire was an attempt by terror groups in Gaza to strike up conflict in the region ahead of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
They said Israel's policy of retaliating for each instance of rocket fire could further exacerbate tension and lead to an escalation of violence.