Four border policemen in the Ashkelon Coast area were injured by
shrapnel, one moderately, when a Kassam rocket directly struck a
building Tuesday night, after nearly 50 rockets and mortar shells
pounded southern Israel.
Israel was expected to escalate its
response to the attacks and Defense Minister Ehud Barak held security
consultations late Tuesday night to review various options, following
one of the worst days of violence in months.
injured man suffered shrapnel wounds to his legs and Magen David Adom
(MDA) paramedics were evacuating him to Barzilai Medical Center in
Ashkelon. The other border policeman suffered light injuries.
IAF aircraft struck seven terror targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday in response to
continued rocket and mortar fire into southern Israel, according to the
IDF Spokesman's Office. Palestinians did not immediately report any injuries or deaths resulting from the IAF strikes.
Rocket fire continued early Wednesday morning, with at least ten rockets falling in the Ashkelon Coast and Eshkol Regional Council areas. No injuries were reported in the attacks, but a structure sustained some damage.
Earlier Tuesday, seven rockets
landed in the Lachish region and 22 landed in the Negev. Residents in
the Ashkelon and Sdot Negev regions were ordered to stay close to bomb
shelters throughout the day.
Police bomb squads spent the day searching for rocket impact areas to recover the remains of the projectiles.
was concerned with the increase in rocket fire but particularly with
Hamas’s declared involvement in the attacks, a clear break from its
earlier policy not to attack Israel.
Previously, as was
demonstrated during the last round of violence with Islamic Jihad in
March, Hamas refrained from firing its long-range Grad-model Katyusha
rockets into Israeli cities. Instead, it allowed other groups, such as
Islamic Jihad or the Popular Resistance Committees to fire into Israel.
the afternoon, the Israel Air Force attacked a motorbike in the central
Gaza Strip, wounding one person, who the IDF said was involved in the
rocket fire into Israel.
Iron Dome batteries were deployed
throughout the South but by the evening they had not been activated. The
IDF said the batteries were on high alert and were prepared to defend
the cities they surround.
Officials at Sapir College near Sderot
canceled a graduation ceremony scheduled for Tuesday evening in light of
the ongoing rocket fire.
Hamas claimed the rocket attacks are a
response to the killings of Palestinians in recent days. The IAF killed
at least six Palestinians since Monday, when it launched a series of
airstrikes against a sniper and rocket cell.
Reuters obtained a video showing a group of masked men who claimed
responsibility for the attack along the Egyptian border on Monday,
during which terrorists killed an Israeli Arab construction worker. The
men said they were part of a newly formed Islamic movement called “The
Shura Council of Mujahideen in the Holy Land.”
The masked men used Islamic slogans, pledging to liberate the Holy Land from what they termed Jewish control.
second video showed two men, one of whom said they were about to embark
on a mission to attack “the Zionist forces on the border of Egypt and
occupied Palestine,” an apparent reference to Monday’s incident on the
The first man said he was an Egyptian named Abu
Salah al- Masri. The other said he came from Saudi Arabia and gave his
name as Abu Huthiyfa al-Rathali.
The videos could not immediately be verified.
“The more things deteriorate, the closer we come to a decision we don’t want to make,” Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said.
“The prospect of a ground operation [in the Gaza Strip] shouldn’t frighten us.
this situation escalates, and I hope it won’t, then all options are
open,” he told Israel Radio. “They know it. We know it. The
international community knows it.”
Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.