Kassam hits Ashkelon dunes

IAF strikes Kassam and mortar launch sites throughout Gaza Strip.

homemade kassam 298 (photo credit: AP)
homemade kassam 298
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian gunmen opened fire at an Israeli vehicle Sunday evening on a West Bank road and a Kassam rocket hit the southern outskirts of Ashkelon for the second time in three days. The Kassam landed harmlessly in the dunes of the industrial zone, where there are a number of strategic installations such as oil pipelines, a desalination plant and a major power station. The Islamic Jihad released video footage of the Kassam launch. There were no Israeli casualties in the attack, which came as Yossi Shok was buried after being shot dead by Palestinian gunmen in a drive-by shooting near Hebron on Friday. Earlier, IAF aircraft repeatedly struck inside the Gaza Strip, blasting sites the army said Palestinians used to fire rockets into Israel. They also bombed a major bridge in the northern Gaza Strip and roads used for transporting the rockets. "These routes are used by terrorists to reach the areas from which they launch rockets at Israeli targets," the army said. In at least nine raids, three Palestinian policemen were wounded and a baby was hit in the face with shrapnel, medics told reporters. But on Sunday afternoon, Palestinians managed to sneak a Kassam rocket into the ruins of the former settlement of Dugit and launch it toward Ashkelon. It hit and exploded harmlessly in the dunes about eight kilometers north of Dugit. Ashkelon Mayor Roni Mehatzri said that the Red Dawn warning sirens were still not installed. He telephoned Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and urged him to rush the installation. Mofaz convened top IDF brass and security officials in his office Sunday night to consider what actions to take amid the increasing Palestinian attacks. In an interview with Israel Radio, Likud MK Yuval Steinitz said Israel would be forced to launch a second Operation Defensive Shield and uproot the terror infrastructure in Gaza on its own. But IDF officers said retaliation would be confined to halting rocket attacks. Hours earlier, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at an Israeli vehicle traveling near the entrance of the settlement of Talmon near highway 443. No one was wounded, but the vehicle sustained damage. Troops sweeping the area uncovered a shooting position and several bullet casings. Sunday evening, Palestinian gunmen also opened fire at an IDF patrol near the security fence along the southern Gaza Strip. The army reported no casualties or damage. Late Saturday night, troops shot dead a Palestinian man the army said was trying to place a bomb next to the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. Several Palestinian terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for the incident. Palestinian medical officials identified the man as Muhammad Abu Dikri, 34. Meanwhile, Palestinian authorities evacuated the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus on Sunday after discovering a car packed with explosives parked outside. PA security forces were working to neutralize the explosives, and there were no reports of injuries. It was not immediately known who owned the vehicle or who placed it in the courtyard. Last week, PA police discovered a car bomb near Bethlehem and tipped off Israeli police, who blew up the vehicle harmlessly.