Gazans fire mortar shells at IDF patrol

Comes after Kassam hits Sha'ar Hanegev, rocket lands south of Ashkelon; none wounded in attacks.

February 21, 2009 09:24
2 minute read.
Gazans fire mortar shells at IDF patrol

Nahariya katyusha attack 248.88. (photo credit: Israel Police )

After the morning's Kassam rocket attack on southern Israel, attacks from Gaza resumed on Sunday afternoon as Palestinian operatives fired several mortar shells at IDF soldiers patrolling the border fence near the Kissufim crossing. There were no casualties or damage, and the forces did not return fire. On Sunday morning, a Kassam rocket fired by Gaza terrorists hit an open area in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, and on Saturday night, a rocket landed south of Ashkelon. No one was wounded and no damage was reported in either attack. Earlier Saturday, five people were wounded as a Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon exploded near a home in a Western Galilee town. Three people who were inside suffered light wounds from flying glass and shrapnel, and were hospitalized in Nahariya. Magen David Adom paramedics treated two others for shock. Family members described hearing a powerful explosion before their home filled with black smoke. The IDF responded immediately by firing artillery rounds at the source of the fire in southern Lebanon. The IDF would not comment on who was behind the rocket attack or what measures, if any, Israel would take beyond the artillery response. Galilee Police Spokesman Ch.-Supt. Eran Shaked, who visited the impact scene, said a single rocket had been fired at the area, shattering the house's windows and scarring the home with pieces of shrapnel. Police sappers retrieved and analyzed the rocket but would not release further details on the projectile. International media reports said Hizbullah denied involvement in the rocket attack. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora denounced the attack as a violation of UN resolution 1701, and also condemned Israel's retaliatory shelling. Senior Fatah commander in Lebanon Sultan Abul-Einein condemned the attack as well and said it had not been carried out by anyone connected to the PLO, Israel Radio reported. Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army, together with UN peacekeepers, discovered the launch sites for the rocket attacks. Earlier this month, UN staff in southern Lebanon discovered five rockets ready to be fired north of the town of Nakoura. On February 5, Milos Strugar, a UNIFIL spokesman, said the rockets and a launching device had been discovered by a patrol of peacekeepers. The UN force is headquartered in Nakoura. During Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January, rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel on two different occasions. On January 8, three Katyusha rockets struck Nahariya, one slamming into a retirement home. Two people were slightly hurt. On January 14, three more rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon. Also Saturday, two Palestinian gunmen were killed in an explosion in Gaza close to the Israeli border, reportedly as they were preparing explosives for an attack on IDF border patrols. The IDF said there was no engagement by soldiers in the area at the time.

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