Police sapper carries Grad rocket 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Police in the south said on Saturday evening that over 50 rockets have been
fired at Israel from Gaza since Saturday morning.
The central Negev
region was hit with 28 rockets in total.
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Police bomb squad officers found
13 rockets in that region. A number of homes were damaged in the
The Lachish region, in the western Negev, was hit with 22
rockets. Police found four rockets during searches. The farming communities of
the Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol regional councils have been subjected to
continuous mortar and rocket attacks throughout the day.
Speaking to The
on Saturday evening, Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin
said, “We’ve been under attack for three days.
The number of rockets we
are dealing with is the same as during Operation Cast Lead.
is that we are in the midst of a real escalation.
“As far as we’re
concerned, this is Cast Lead all over again.
We are in a [state of ]
emergency, even though the state has not declared an official emergency. We’ve
been running around all day to calm local residents,” Yalin
“Everyone here is working so that we can cope with the
Yalin said he had an “agreement” with the government,
according to which, “they [the government] are responsible for everything that
comes out of Gaza. We deal with whatever ends up here.”
Southern District police head, Lt.-Cmdr. Kobi Cohen, held a special evaluation
meeting on Saturday due to the escalating security situation.
concluded with a decision to raise the police’s level of alert to 3 – the second
to highest level. Back up forces, including bomb squad officers and Border
Police, have been sent to the south from other police districts.
will also maintain checkpoints and an increased presence into Sunday.
of rockets that struck a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, late on
Saturday afternoon, hit a main water pipe. Local officials at first feared
disruptions to the water supply, but later reported that water was flowing to
The Eshkol Regional Council was pounded throughout the day and
into the evening hours. One rocket fell in a community and caused damage to
homes. Three people remained hospitalized at the Barzilai Medical Center in
Ashkelon suffering from shock after experiencing rocket attacks. Six other shock
victims were released to their homes.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch addressed the recent escalation in the South on Saturday during a
tour of the western Negev, and issued a warning to Hamas, saying that there “is
no immunity for anyone in Gaza.”
“They must know we will pursue them one
by one until we find them. We will know how to reach them in their underground
hideouts. The IDF has the tools and we will know how to use them,” Aharonovitch
The minister met with senior police officials, toured police
checkpoints in the western Negev, and heard security evaluations.
he arrived in Beersheba and visited the 16-year-old boy who was critically
wounded by the anti-tank missile fired by Hamas that hit school bus on
“Hamas’s conduct is barbaric.
Everyone knows that a
yellow school bus is an internationally recognized symbol for a vehicle
transporting children,” Aharonovitch said.
“Firing on it is a despicable
crime and the crossing of a red line.”