Two rockets explode in residential Beersheba; 1 injured

Ten mortars explode in Eshkol, Sha'ar Hanegev regions; Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for Beersheba, Ashdod rocket fire.

IDF soldiers on tank near Gaza border 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
IDF soldiers on tank near Gaza border 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Two rockets exploded in Beersheba on Wednesday morning, and ten mortar shells fell in the Sha'ar Hanegev and Eshkol Regional Councils.
A siren was heard as a rocket fell in an open field in Beersheba at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported.
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Seven mortar shells fell in the Eshkol Regional Council, followed shortly after by three more near a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries were reported in either explosion.
A 122-millimeter Grad rocket landed in a private yard of a residential area in Beersheba earlier Wednesday morning.
No deaths were reported in the Beersheba blast, however, one 56-year-old man was injured moderately in the chest by flying debris when he witnessed the Grad's explosion from his third story window. He was treated by paramedics who arrived on the scene. Three others were treated for shock.
There were no injuries or damage reported in the Eshkol mortar barrage as the shells landed in an open field.
The Al-Quds Brigades, a branch of Islamic Jihad, took responsibility for the recent Grad rocket attacks on Beersheba, AFP reported on Wednesday.
"This is a reaction the the crimes of Zionism against our nation in Gaza," Islamic Jihad announced in a statement.
Only hours before, a Grad rocket launched from the northern Gaza Strip exploded south of Ashdod. There were no reports of injuries or damage to property.
An air raid siren was heard throughout the city.
Islamic Jihad reportedly took responsibility for the Ashdod attack as well.
At least nine Palestinians, including four civilians, were killed on Tuesday in separate IDF attacks against targets in the Gaza Strip, marking the bloodiest day in a week of escalating violence in the South.
On Tuesday evening, the IDF attacked a terrorist cell, killing four who military sources said were behind the Grad-model Katyusha attack on Beersheba last month. IDF troops also shot mortars into Gaza, accidentally hitting civilians in the norther town of Sajaya.
Palestinians reported that four people – aged 58, 12, 16 and 17 – were killed in the strike.
A short time earlier, four Kassam rockets exploded in open fields in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. No injuries or damages were reported.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement Tuesday night “expressing regret” at the loss of innocent life in Gaza, saying it was accidental.
According to the statement, Netanyahu stressed that the IDF mortar-firing had been a reaction to Hamas shelling of Israeli civilians.
“It is unfortunate that Hamas continues to rain down dozens of rockets on Israeli civilians intentionally, while using [their own] civilians as human shields. Israel has no intention of bringing about a deterioration of the situation, but at the same time, the IDF will continue to act decisively to protect Israeli citizens,” the statement read.
Yaakov Katz, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.