|Photo by: Amir Cohen/Reuters|
Escalation in South: 8 hurt, 1 seriously, by Gaza rockets
By YAAKOV LAPPIN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
One man seriously injured in the Eshkol Regional Council, airlifted to hospital; Palestinians fire over 40 rockets into South from Gaza; barrage of rockets follows IAF strike on Gaza that kills PRC chief Qaisi.
Magen David Adom paramedics said late Friday night that a total of eight
people had been injured by rocket and mortal shell fire from Gaza.
Palestinian terrorists fired approximately 40 rockets from Gaza into
on Friday night after an air strike killed the secretary general of the
Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair Qaisi.
In the Eshkol
Regional Council a 40-year-old man was seriously injured, a second man
was moderately injured by shrapnel in his stomach and a third was
lightly injured. Paramedics said the injured appear to be foreign
workers. An electric
pole and a vehicle were also damaged in the attack.
additional people were lightly injured in a car accident that occurred
during an air raid siren at the Emunim Junction between Ashdod and
Ashkelon. Three other people in the South were lightly injured while
fleeing for cover during sirens. One other civilian was being treated
The injured have been taken to the Kaplan Medical
Center in Rehovot and the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, as well
as the Soroka Medical Center in Be'ersheba. In the Be'er Tuvia
area, police located a rocket explosion site. The windows of a home were
shattered and a car was damaged. No injuries were reported.
Police said late Friday night that two rockets were fired from Gaza at Ashdod and a third in the direction of Kiryat Malachi.
No injuries or damages were reported.
Earlier on Friday, three rockets were fired at
the greater Ashdod region, where an air raid siren rang out, before
three explosions were
The barrage of rockets followed an IAF air strike that killed the secretary general of the
Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair Qaisi.
Since the initial
air strike, the IAF continued operations over Gazan skies to track down
rocket launching crews, and struck two cells making final preparations
to fire high-trajectory rockets into Israel. One of the terror cells was
in central Gaza and the other in northern Gaza. The IDF confirmed hits on its targets.
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
Qaisi was one of the planners of the deadly terror attack
last August on Route 12 near the Egyptian border, in which eight
Israelis were murdered. In 2008, he was involved in a terror attack on a
gas depot at Nahal Oz. He was also involved in the carrying out of
rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, and oversaw the transfer
of funds from Hezbollah to terrorist organizations in Gaza. Hanini, in
the past, dispatched a suicide bomber into Israel.
responded with threats to reignite tensions along the testy frontier.
"All options are open before the fighters to respond to this despicable
crime. The assassination of our chief will not end our resistance," Abu
Attiya, a spokesman for the PRC group said.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Israel was responsible for what he called "a grave escalation."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the strike.
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.
first IAF strike happened shortly after two mortar shells were fired at
Israel from the Hamas-ruled territory, causing no damage or injury. The
explosions occurred in open fields in the Eshkol regional council,
which abuts the border with the Gaza Strip.
Senior IDF officials
reacted to the mortal shell attacks, telling Army Radio that they would
not allow the firing to continue. The officials expressed surprise that,
with no reason, the shooting at civilians from Gaza continued "on
Friday too... at villages surrounding Gaza." They also stressed that the
mortar shell attacks had been unprovoked, and were carried out when
there had been no previous IDF action in Gaza.
Reuters contributed to this report