Mortar shell hits clubhouse as a dozen fired into southern Israel

Hamas claims responsibility for attack; rockets strike near Ashkelon as IAF missiles target gunmen; Palestinians: 1 gunman killed.

rocket remnant 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
rocket remnant 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
One day after the truce between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip officially ended, hope for an unofficial ceasefire appeared grim, with rockets and mortar shells continuing to rain down on the western Negev, and the IAF quickly responding. Approximately a dozen mortar shells were fired into Israel on Saturday afternoon. One of them hit a youth clubhouse at a kibbutz close to the Gaza Strip. No one was wounded in the attack as the building was empty at the time but damage was caused to the structure. Hamas said it carried out the mortar fire. The remaining mortar shells struck other Gaza periphery towns in Israel, around the central and northern parts of the Strip. No casualties were wounded in the barrage. Earlier, eight Kassam rockets and two mortar shells had struck open areas around the Gaza-periphery communities, including two near Ashkelon. Nobody was hurt in any of the attacks, and no damage was reported. In response, IAF warplanes launched an airstrike against armed Palestinians in northern Gaza. Palestinians reported that one gunman was killed in the attack, while another was wounded. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, identified the dead man as one of its fighters. Since the ceasefire ended, a total of 13 rockets have hit areas throughout the western Negev. On Friday morning, two rockets landed in open fields in the Eshkol region, while a third slammed into the Sha'ar Hanegev area. Later on Friday night, Palestinians fired another two Kassam rockets towards the western Negev. None were wounded by the rockets and no damage was reported. In addition, Palestinian gunmen shot at farmers near Kibbutz Nir Oz, in the Eshkol region on Friday morning. Nobody was wounded in the shootings, but a number of vehicles sustained damage. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks. AP contributed to this report.