Rocket warfare escalates; 7 mortar shells fired from Gaza

11 rockets hit western Negev, Ashkelon area in less than 24 hours, including first Grad rocket to hit Ofakim since Operation Cast Lead; damage caused to building, cows injured.

Rocket carried by terrorist 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Rocket carried by terrorist 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Violence from the Gaza strip escalated Friday afternoon as Palestinians fired four mortar shells at the Ashkelon Regional Council and three mortar shells towards the western Negev.
All the the shells exploded in open land.
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No injuries were reported and no damage was caused.
Earlier on Friday a Grad rocket was shot from Gaza towards Israel.
The Grad rocket was the first since July, and the first to land near Ofakim since Operation Cast Lead. The rocket exploded in an open area, injuring three cows and damaging a building.
In addition, two Kassam rockets landed in the Merhavim regional council of the western Negev. No injuries and damage were reported.
Another rocket was shot on Friday morning. It landed in Palestinian territory.

The escalation may have been a reaction to the IDF assassination of two members of the Army of Islam, an al-Qaida affiliated group. Earlier on Thursday, the Army of Islam issued a threat in Hebrew for the first time, saying that Jews are not safe from attacks.
Kassam rockets have been shot from Gaza towards the western Negev almost daily since 2001. The IDF Spokesperson's unit reported that over 180 rockets have landed in Israel since the beginning of the year.