The IDF continued to target terrorists in the Gaza Strip Sunday morning
after Palestinians continued to fire rockets at towns in southern
Medical sources in Gaza reported that the latest IAF
strike killed two Palestinians, one a 12-year-old boy. The medics said
the boy was killed by an air strike in the northern Gaza Strip, while
the other Palestinian was killed in a separate strike in Gaza City.
Palestinian medical sources claim that the death toll in the Gaza Strip now stands at 17 people, Ma'an reported.
IDF Spokesperson's Office said that IAF aircraft bombed underground
launchers of rockets that have a range of over 40 kilometers.
Rocket attacks on Israel continued Sunday morning after over 100 rockets
and mortar shells were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip over the
The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a total of four rockets Sunday morning that were fired from Gaza at Ashdod.
Two Grad-type rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome batteries at around 10:00 a.m., while shortly after 7:00 a.m. another two Grad rockets were also intercepted.
A further two rockets were fired from Gaza and they exploded in southern Israel. One of the rockets exploded south of Ashkelon and
the other in the Eshkol Regional Council. Those rockets landed in open
territories and caused no casualties or damages.
On Saturday overnight, the IDF attacked a group of terrorists preparing
to launch a projectile at Israeli territory, killing on 24-year-old male
and injuring three others.
Rockets wounded eight people on
Friday evening. In the Eshkol region, a 40-year-old man was seriously
injured by shrapnel, a second man was moderately wounded by shrapnel in
his stomach, and a third was lightly injured.
Paramedics said the injured were foreign workers.
IDF Home Front Command along with the heads of a number of local
authorities in the South decided on Saturday night to cancel school in
all towns and cities located between 7 km. and 40 km. of the Gaza Strip.
to the decision, approximately 200,000 children will stay home on
Sunday. The ban applies to Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, Netivot, Sderot,
Kiryat Malachi, Gedera, Rahat, Yavne, Lakiya and the Gan Yavne Regional
in the western Negev that are within 7 km. of the Gaza Strip will hold
class as usual, as they have the necessary reinforcement to protect
against rockets, the Home Front Command said.
The violence started on Friday afternoon when Israel Air Force craft bombed a car in Gaza, killing Zuhair Qaisi
the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, and another top
terrorist in the organization who was recently released in the Gilad
Schalit prisoner exchange.
The IDF said it decided to bomb
Qaisi’s car due to intelligence that he was plotting a large terrorist
attack along the border with Egypt, similar to the one the PRC carried
out last August that killed eight Israelis. The IDF decided on Friday to
close Route 12 – which runs along the border with Egypt – due to fears
that the planned attack might still take place.
While most of the
rockets fired from Gaza were shortrange Kassams, some were long-range
Grad-model Katyushas that succeeded in hitting 40 km. from the Gaza
Strip. The short-range rockets were mostly fired by the PRC and the
long-range rockets by Islamic Jihad.
The three Iron Dome batteries deployed in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheba succeeded in interpreting 27 rockets
fired from Gaza out of 30 that they tried to shoot down, marking a record-high interception rate of 90 percent.
IAF successfully struck 10 terrorist cells as they were planning to
fire rockets into Israel as well as eight other targets throughout Gaza.
All of the dead were known terrorists, the IDF said.
Iron Dome battery on Saturday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak predicted
that the round of violence would last another couple of days.
will not allow people to attack Israeli citizens,” Barak said. “We will
take action against anyone who tries to launch a rocket or an attack
and they will pay a price. No one has immunity.”
The flareup in
Gaza is the worst since October. The escalating violence drew appeals
for a cease-fire from the European Union, the West Bankbased Palestinian
Authority and Egypt. IDF sources said that Israel was in constant touch
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressed concern. “I urge all sides to reestablish calm,” she said in a statement.
Foreign Minister Muhammad Kamal Amr told state news agency MENA that
his government was “making crucial calls for an immediate end to this
Israeli escalation, to end bloodshed of our brothers.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called for Egyptian aid, saying Gaza was “sinking in darkness and in blood.”
In the Gaza Strip, thousands attended funerals for the dead gunmen on Saturday, listening to speeches calling for revenge.
officials said Israeli troops opened fire on mourners at a burial for
an Islamic Jihad gunman attended by hundreds at a cemetery near the
Israeli frontier fence, wounding four. The IDF did not have an immediate
comment on the incident.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for PA
President Mahmoud Abbas, blamed Israel for the violence and called for
Western pressure to halt it.
“This Israeli escalation in Gaza is
completely condemned and we urge the world community, and the Quartet
[of Middle East power brokers], especially the United States, to put
enough pressure on the Israeli government to stop this escalation,”
Rdainah told Reuters Television.Yaakov Katz, Ben Hartman and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.