Kassams, mortar shells pound w. Negev

Building, cars damaged in attacks, no casualties reported; Hamas gunman killed in Gaza Strip op.

Gaza crater 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Gaza crater 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Despite IDF operations in Gaza which killed a Hamas gunman early Friday and the looming possibility of a large scale IDF raid on the Strip, Palestinian terrorists persisted with their rocket and mortar shell attacks on southern Israel. On Friday afternoon, a Kassam rocket landed near Sderot's Sapir College, damaging six cars. A second rocket landed in the town, one hit an open area and a fourth apparently landed in the Eshkol region, although it was yet to be found. Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. Earlier, nine mortar shells slammed into the western Negev, one damaging a building near a kibbutz in the Sderot area. No one was wounded in the attacks. The barrages came moments after Amnon Rozenberg, who was killed Thursday by a Gaza shell that hit the Nirlat paint factory at Kibbutz Nir Oz, was laid to rest at the kibbutz cemetery. In the IDF operations, which began overnight Thursday, a Hamas gunman was killed in central Gaza, while in northern Gaza, an IDF soldier carrying out engineering work along the border fence was lightly-to-moderately wounded when he was shot by a Palestinian sniper. Hamas said that the gunman was killed in an exchange of fire which broke out when IDF tanks and bulldozers crossed the fence into Gaza. Two other Hamas gunmen were wounded, the group said. The IDF said troops clashed with Hamas when they entered Gaza briefly in an effort to prevent rocket attacks. In addition, fifteen Palestinians including Hamas gunmen and civilians were wounded when IAF aircraft attacked a Hamas base in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian doctors said. The building was totally destroyed and several buildings in the vicinity were damaged, witnesses said. The IDF said the air strike targeted a Hamas base and that it came in response to Thursday's fatal mortar shell attack on Nir Oz. Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the scene of the attack on Thursday night, saying that the military operation in Gaza "is closer than ever and it will likely precede the cease-fire." However, Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin, who met Barak after Thursday's attack, said that he got the impression that a wide-scale IDF operation in Gaza wasn't close. "Yesterday, I got the impression from Barak that in actual fact, although, yes, it might seem like a military operation is approaching, it is like the horizon; it may appear close but in reality, it is far away," Yalin told Army Radio on Friday. "We don't care if it is a military operation or a peace deal. All we want is security," he continued. Overnight Thursday, IDF troops arrested four Palestinian terror suspects during West Bank operations. The suspects, who were arrested in Hebron, were transferred to security forces for questioning.