Israeli killed, two seriously wounded in Eshkol mortar strike

Ashkelon house suffers direct rocket strike, lightly wounding dozens; rocket lands in courtyard of Ashdod kindergarten.

Ambulance (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM JERUSALEM)

Dozens of rockets and mortar shells rained down on southern Israel Tuesday evening hours before an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire went into effect at 7 p.m.A mortar shell fired at the Eshkol Regional Council killed one person and seriously wounded two others, MDA Spokesman Eli Bean said.A spokesman for the Eshkol Regional council said that 116 rockets and mortar shells were fired into the area from Gaza on Tuesday. Earlier on Tuesday, a rocket slammed into a residential neighborhood in Ashkelon, causing damage to several homes. A house in Ashkelon suffered a direct hit and the family was home when the rocket struck. The parents awoke when they heard the rocket alert siren, moving their children to the protected room of the house. The rocket struck the parents' bedroom shortly after they left it.  Magen David Adom paramedics said they treated 40 people after the rocket attack in Ashkelon who were subsequently evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center in the city. Twenty of the the injured suffered light wounds from broken glass and from falling objects. The other 20 victims suffered from shock.In a later salvo of rocket fire around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, rocket shrapnel fell in the courtyard of a kindergarten in Ashdod. The shrapnel caused an electric cable to fall. No injuries were reported in the attack. Rocket sirens went off in Ashkelon at the same time, with the Iron Dome shooting down one projectile over the city.By noon, more than 50 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel. The Gaza border communities in the Eshkol Regional Council received the brunt of the fire, but no injuries were reported.Just after 6:30 a.m., residents of Tel Aviv and the Shfela region were awakened by rocket alert sirens. The Iron Dome intercepted one rocket over the greater Tel Aviv area.Hamas claimed responsibility for the Tel Aviv and Ashkelon attacks. Meanwhile, on the other side of the border, the IAF struck more than 15 terror sites overnight, an army spokeswoman said. Palestinian medical sources said two Palestinians were killed in an air raid that destroyed a multiple-story building west of Gaza City. According to reports coming out of Gaza, 20 people were injured in the incident. The renewed rocket fire came a day after Israel saw more than 120 rockets fly over the border as the IDF pounded more than 70 targets throughout the Strip.