Kassam rocket falls near Ashkelon

Lavrov calls on Hamas to halt rockets; Mashaal promises him action.

mashaal lavrov 311 187 (photo credit: AP)
mashaal lavrov 311 187
(photo credit: AP)
A Kassam rocket was launched on Thursday evening at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip, exploding in an open area near Ashkelon. No casualties or damage were reported.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel, Army Radio reported.
Lavrov told Hamas's leader in Syria, Khaled Mashaal, in a phone conversation that the organization must stop the "unconscionable firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel," AFP reported, quoting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mashaal said that the Hamas leadership has decided to "maintain the calm, and is not
interested in escalating the tension. He promised that his organizationwould take "appropriate measures to prevent the rocket fire from Gaza,"according to AFP's report.
The firing of Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip has increasedrecently, as has planting of bombs near the security fence around Gaza.After a clash between IDF and would-be bomb-planters resulted in thedeath of Major Eliraz Peretz and Staff Sergeant Ilan SviatkovskyFriday, IDF responded with a short incursion of tanks and bulldozers.