Grad rocket hits Beersheba; IDF retaliates
Gaza Strip terror reaches Negev capital for first time since Operation Cast Lead. Damage caused to several houses, vehicles after rocket explodes in house yard; five people suffer anxiety attacks. IDF launches Gaza strike shortly after rocket hit Negev, Ma'an news agency reports
A Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house yard in Beersheba Wednesday. Damage was caused to several nearby houses and vehicles. Ten people, including four children suffered anxiety attacks and were taken to the Soroka University Medical Center. There were no reports of other injuries.
The IDF responded by attacking the terrorist cell which was behind the rocket fire. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said there was confirmation the target was hit. Three Palestinians were lighly injured.
Later on Wednesday, Palestinian sources reported that Air Force aircrafts and helicopters attacked military targets across the Gaza Strip. Most attacks targeted the Zeitun neighborhood in east Gaza and the central Gaza Strip, the sources said.
The inhabitants of the Beersheba house suffered shock and were treated by a paramedic. The owner of the house said: "We were coming down to the basement, myself and my son, and suddenly all the glasses shattered. It was horrible."
Yuval Yirmiyahu, a paramedic, said the rocket caused considerable damage, "Two villas were damaged, house windows shattered, doors displaced and shrapnel spread," he said. Damage was also caused to water pipes.
Less than an hour after the Grad rocket hit Beersheba, Air Force aircrafts attacked a terrorist cell belonging to al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's military wing, which was planning additional rocket launchings.
The Ma'an news agency reported that the IDF fired mortar shells near the Rantisi mosque in the Zeitun neighborhood.
The army confirmed aircraft had attacked Gaza and said direct hits were identified.
Nevertheless, a Palestinian element reported that a terrorist cell succeeded in firing mortar shells at a military port near Nahal Oz after the IDF strike.
Gaza elements said that Hamas security forces evacuated their men from all Gaza Strip posts following the army's swift response fearing an additional strike.
Damage caused to one house (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
An alarm was sounded in the Beersheba area at around 9:40 pm accompanied by explosion sounds.
The MDA director ordered the alertness level be raised in the Southern District. Beerheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitch said one house was hit. "No one was hurt thanks to the fact that everyone entered fortified areas and the rocket landed outdoors."
The Southern District chief at the Home Front Command Colonel Eitan Yitzhak said that the IDF was not surprised by the rocket fire and noted only one rocket exploded. He said that the alert systems were duly activated and residents followed guidelines by entering fortified areas.
One of the residents said he heard the alarm while in his backyard. "As the alarm went off I stepped inside and told the whole family to enter the fortified room. We then heard a loud blast and one of the doors fell inside the living room. Luckily no one was hurt. "
Salit, a Ramat Gan resident whose parents reside in Beesheba told Ynet that the windows at her parents' house had shattered but that her parents have not been injured.
At the scene of the hit (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
Earlier on Wednesday, three mortar bombs exploded in the Shaar Henegev Regional Council. No injuries were reported. One of the bombs exploded near a soccer field, another near a pool and the third near a kibbutz outside the border fence. Also Wednesday, 11 Palestinians were hurt by mortars fired by the IDF in the eastern Gaza Strip.
The Islamic Jihad's military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, claimed its people fired two mortars at IDF forces which crossed the fence, causing the tanks to fire shells back at them. According to the Islamic Jihad, three of their men were injured, one was severely injured.
Last Saturday, a rocket landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. No alarm was sounded. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
Tova Dadon, Elior Levy, Yair Altman and Gili Dagan contributed to this report
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