The Grad
Photo: Gadi Kabalo
The scene
Photo: AFP

Rocket hits outskirts of Ashkelon; none injured

Grad rocket hits road in southern city's industrial zone for first time since Operation Pillar of Defense; al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claim responsibility

A Grad rocket fired from Gaza Tuesday morning landed on the outskirts of Ashkelon. No injuries were reported.


The rocket landed on a road in the city's industrial zone, causing some damage. This was the first time a rocket was fired at Israel since the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense,in November.


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A security source said that an initial examination of the rocket's remnants showed that it was an 8" projectile with an improved mid-to-long range.


The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing, claimed responsibility for the fire.


In a statement carried by the Palestinian news agency Maan, the Gaza-based terror group said that the fire was its response to the death of Palestinian security prisoner Arafat Jaradat in Megiddo Prison on Saturday.


"Liberty will be achieved through sacrifice. We must fight the enemy with all means necessary. The resistance will continue," the statement said.  


הרקטה שפגעה בכביש מדרום לאשקלון (צילום: גדי קבלו "ידיעות אחרונות")

The Grad (Photo: Gadi Kabalo)


The Color Red alert failed to sound prior to the incident. A military source told Ynet that the system recognized the launch as aimed at an open area, which does not trigger the sirens. 


The Iron Dome battery that was stationed in the area during the operation has since been redeployed.


The IDF said that "Iron Dome batteries are deployed and redeployed according to situation assessments and operational needs."


The defense establishment is scheduled to hold a situation assessment later on Tuesday


Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad told Ynet that, "Overall, our deterrence in the south is in place and peace in the area has been maintained, thanks to the IDF's successful operation.


"We do, however, have to remain vigilant to ensure no threat arises. This was a single event, but we have to make sure that peace and quiet are maintained."


Security forces have expressed concern that the growing unrest in the West Bank may prompt the Gaza terror groups to resume their rocket fire on Israel's south.


November's military campaign ended with an Egyptian-brokered armistice and various understandings between Israel and Hamas, meant to maintain agreement.


The past few weeks have seen acceleration in the indirect talks between Hamas, Egypt and Israel, in an attempt to galvanize the ceasefire agreement.


Several Israeli defense delegations have traveled to Cairo to that effect, while the Egyptians have stepped up their effort to curtail weapons smuggling into Gaza Strip.


Yoav Zitun and Roi Kais contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 02.26.13, 07:20
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