Palestinian terrorists in Gaza targeted cities, towns, and farming regions in southern Israel with waves of rockets throughout Friday and Saturday, setting off air raid sirens and injuring eight people
One hundred rockets - Kassams and the longer-range Grads - were fired by midday
Saturday at civilian regions. Of those, the Iron Dome anti-rocket system
intercepted 25 projectiles heading directly into city centers in Ashdod,
Beersheba and Ashkelon. Seventy-five rockets exploded in Israeli territory, most
of them in open fields. The barrage came after the IAF foiled a major terror attack, killing the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair Qaisi.
Eight people were injured on Friday
evening. In the Eshkol Regional Council, a 40-year-old man was seriously injured
from rocket shrapnel, a second man was moderately injured by shrapnel in his
stomach, and a third was lightly injured. Paramedics said the injured were
foreign workers. An electric pole and a vehicle were also damaged in the same
The seriously injured man was airlifted to the Soroka Medical
Center in Beersheba, and remains in critical condition.
Two people were
lightly injured in a car accident that occurred during an air raid siren at the
Emunim Junction between Ashdod and Ashkelon on Friday evening.
other people in the South were lightly injured while fleeing for cover during
sirens. One civilian was treated for shock. The injured were taken to the Kaplan
Medical Center in Rehovot and the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for
Police bomb squad units moved from one explosion site to
another seeking to ensure that the fallen rockets did not pose a further threat
to the public.
The rocket barrages tapered off at around 3 a.m., but
resumed again on Saturday morning, when air raid sirens rang out in Beersheba
In the Be'er Tuvia area, police located a rocket explosion
site late on Friday night. The windows of a home were shattered and a car was
damaged by the projectile. No injuries were reported.
In addition to the
major southern cities, terrorists targeted Israeli communities in the Eshkol
Regional Council, Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, and other rural communities
close to Gaza.
The IDF Home Front Command instructed all civilians living
within 40 kilometers of the Gaza Strip to behave cautiously and ensure that they
were never far from a designated safe room and away from windows.
details are available here on the Home Front Command website
The IAF struck targets in Gaza overnight Friday and Saturday morning in response to the rocket attacks. 14 Palestinians - 10 of them members of Islamic Jihad - were killed
in the strikes and another 20 were injured, according to Palestinian
news agency Ma'an.
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) swiftly called for retaliation
following the first IAF strike that killed Qaisi, as well as senior PRC
member Ahmad Hanini. A third man was also injured in the attack. The
IAF struck a vehicle in a move to thwart a large-scale terror attack
that was in its last stages of preparation, according to the IDF
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Israel was responsible for what he called "a grave escalation."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the strike.
Egypt's foreign minister condemned Israel's actions, calling for an immediate end to the attacks to prevent further bloodshed, the state news agency MENA said.
"Egypt is highly distraught by the Israeli attacks," MENA quoted Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr as saying on Saturday. "Egypt is currently exerting efforts and making crucial calls for an immediate end to this Israeli escalation to end bloodshed of our brothers."
IDF stated that the attack was part of an operation to thwart the
intentions of terrorists to carry out terror attacks in Sinai, along the
border between Israel and Egypt. Qaisi had been planning and leading
over the past few days, a major terror attack against Israeli targets,
and the strike was conducted in order to prevent the attack, the IDF
said in a statement.
It added that the IDF was not interested in
escalation but was ready to defend Israel and would respond forcefully
and decisively against against any attempt at terrorist activity.
Jpost.com staff and Reuters contributed to this report