'IAF strikes in Gaza kill 2 Islamic Jihad terrorists'

Gaza-based terror group claims 2 of its operatives killed, 20 civilians hurt in IAF strikes; 11 rockets fired at South, bringing the 4-day total to over 160; rocket lands near Eshkol kindergarten, damaging building.

March 12, 2012 08:56
2 minute read.
IAF A-4, F-16 jets at Hatzerim [file]

IAF A-4, F-16 jets at Hatzerim_370. (photo credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen)

The Israeli Air Force carried out six strikes in the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday as 11 rockets were fired from the coastal enclave toward communities in southern Israel.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that two armed terrorists belonging to the organization were killed in the IAF strikes, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed since hostilities began Friday to 20. More than 160 rockets have been fire toward southern Israel from Gaza in the same period.

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Two Grad rockets were fired at Beersheba overnight Sunday, one of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system. The second rocket exploded in an open space outside the city, causing no damage or injuries. Seven additional rockets were fired toward the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported in the attacks, but some damage was caused to a building when a rocket exploded near a kindergarten.

Rocket ranges from Gaza

The Home Front Command, along with the heads of a number of local authorities in southern Israel, decided Sunday night to cancel school in all towns and cities located between 7 km to 40 km from the Gaza Strip for the second straight day. The decision applied to the cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, Netivot, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Gadera, Rahat, Yavneh, Lakiyeh, and the Gan Yavneh Regional Council.

The IAF strikes carried out early Monday morning targeted a weapons-storage site and four rocket-launch sites in the northern Gaza Strip and one rocket-launch site in the southern Gaza strip. The IDF confirmed hits on its targets, and stated that the attack was a response to rocket fire.

Islamic Jihad said that one man was hit while launching a rocket at Israel from a location in southern Gaza. Another was killed and three others wounded when their motorized rickshaw was hit, the group said.

Gaza hospital sources said 25 civilians were hurt when an Israeli rocket hit a house in northern Gaza.

The latest round of violence flared on Friday when an air strike killed two Palestinian terror leaders in Gaza accused by Israel of planning a cross-border attack via Egypt. A salvo of rockets followed, leaving six people wounded in Israel.

Over 40 of some 160 militant rockets estimated to have been fired since Friday were intercepted and destroyed by the Iron Dome rocket defense system.

Yaakov Lappin and Reuters contributed to this report.

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