A Grad rocket slammed into a field 20 meters away from an educational facility in Ashkelon on Tuesday, but failed to explode. A small number of students who were in the building headed to a safe room when they heard air raid sirens go off before the rocket hit. Hours later, police sappers detonated the rocket using a robot. No casualties or damages were reported. By Tuesday evening, 17 rockets had been fired at the South, a significant drop from the numbers of projectiles fired in the opening days of Operation Cast Lead. The majority of rockets fell within the boundaries of the Eshkol Regional Council. Council head Haim Yalin said he feared a future scenario in which Hamas would target agricultural areas such as Eshkol while refraining from striking cities like Ashkelon. "Ninety percent of the rockets fired recently fell in Eshkol," Yalin said, speaking on Channel 2 News. "I hope we don't fall for a trap in which rocket fire continues in the Gaza periphery but not in the big cities." He added that "the question is what happens after a cease-fire. If they fire a bullet at a farmer and we ignore it, we'll be back at war within a year, a year and a half. If we respond to that bullet as a sovereign country... the [Hamas] fire will stop. "We don't want to be in the headlines... we wish to continue farming and running our tourist trade, and to live quietly by the border," he said. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the Palmahim Air Force Base in the central region on Tuesday, where he said the fighting would go on despite UN activity aimed at achieving a cease-fire. "We appreciate the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and we are monitoring the Egyptian initiative," Barak said during the visit, adding, "The IDF will continue to operate its forces." Barak offered praise to the pilots, operators and ground crews of the air force for creating "new standards of close and productive cooperation with ground forces."