Gov't approves Gaza border town fortification plan

"Plan will bring security to southern residents," PM says after Palestinians fire 3 Grads at Beersheba, 2 Kassams at Eshkol.

Bomb shelter 390 (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Bomb shelter 390
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
The government unanimously approved a plan to bolster fortifications for all Israeli localities between 4.5 km and 7 km of the Gaza Strip, according to Israel Radio, as ongoing rocket fire from the Hamas-run enclave once again forced southern residents into bomb shelters.
The plan, proposed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, will cost around NIS 270 million, and the prime minister will have 30 days to determine the source of the funding without bringing the issue for a second government approval.
"This will bring security to the southern residents," Netanyahu said of the plan. The prime minister added that the Gaza border-area communities suffer greater damage and harm from rockets and missiles than those further away.
"This is something which southern residents have been requesting for a long time," he said.
Sderot Mayor David BuskilaSderot Mayor David BuskilaEarlier Sunday, Magen David Adom paramedics treated Sderot Mayor David Buskila, who said his health was deteriorating as he entered the fifth day of a hunger strike outside the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. Buskila was protesting what he termed a lack of attention being paid by the government to his electorate, which suffers from the ongoing rocket attacks.
Buskila refused to be taken to hospital, demanding increased government intervention in the issue.
Palestinians fired three Grad rockets, which landed near Beersheba, and two Kassam rockets, which fell in an open field in the Eshkol region. There were no damages or injuries reported as a result of the attack. Buskila's city, Sderot, is mere kilometers from the site of the Kassam explosions, and is regularly targeted by Gaza-based terrorists.
Rocket fire, IAF response threatens ceasefire
The Palestinian attacks threatened a tenuous ceasefire implemented after a serious escalation earlier this week. The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), one of several smaller Palestinian factions in Gaza that often operate independently of Hamas, said it had launched one of the rockets that exploded near Beersheba.
The Israel Air Force initiated a pinpoint strike against a terrorist squad preparing to launch additional rockets into Israel, the IDF Spokesman's Office confirmed. Palestinian officials contradicted the suggestion, saying the attack was carried out against operatives riding a motorcycle near the central town of Khan Younis,. At least one Palestinian was killed in the attack, and another was wounded.
"The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers, and will continue to act against any organization initiating terror attacks against the State of Israel," the IDF said following the air strike.
Hamas said its operatives had fired mortars at Israeli ground forces they say had penetrated the coastal strip since the aerial attack. The IDF denied an incursion, saying that an IDF force was attacked with mortar shells as it was conducting a routine patrol on the Israeli side of the border. No soldiers were hurt in the incident.
The Beersheba Municipality canceled school Sunday as a result of the threat of ongoing violence.
The violence follows a three-day lull since a surge last week saw Gaza-based terrorists launch over 80 rockets at Israeli towns and cities.
Ben Hartman, Yaakov Lappin and Reuters contributed to this report