Hamas Talks 'Calm,' Fires Katyushas
Hamas pounded Israel with two powerful Grad Katyusha rockets Tuesday afternoon, wounding one person in the city of Ashkelon.
The first rocket landed around 3:30 PM in the area of the Moslem cemetery in southern Ashkelon. Three people were reported suffering from shock, and a man later arrived at Barzilai Hospital in the city with shrapnel wounds to the head; he is listed in moderate condition.
Ashkelon Mayor: "It's about time that the government wake up and understand that we're at war."
Less than an hour later, another Grad rocket was fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and exploded in the Sdot Negev area. No damage or injuries were reported.
Later in the afternoon, two Kassam rockets landed in the Negev - south of Sderot and near Kfar Aza, respectively - causing no damage.
Shortly before the attacks, Hamas leader Ismail Haniye announced that an agreement with Israel for a "calm" - something short of a ceasefire - is close to being signed.
Ashkelon Mayor Roni Mahatzri said in response to the attacks, "Today is a sad day for Ashkelon. The government is ignoring what the residents are undergoing, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister are living in an illusion that there is a 'calm.' Rockets keep on exploding in Ashkelon, and the terrorists continue to wage war on the residents of the State of Israel. It's about time that the government wake up and understand that we're at war."
One month ago, two Grad Katyusha missiles were fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza at southern Ashkelon, with one hitting a children's medical clinic inside a shopping center. Parts of the building collapsed, trapping four people for a half-hour, and nearly 100 people were injured.
Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot Under Rocket Threat
Ashkelon, Israel's 13th largest city with 110,000 residents and home to one of its largest power plants, is the largest city under a routine threat of rockets from terrorists in Gaza. Terrorists began firing towards Ashkelon within weeks of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. The late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, who signed the original Oslo Accords, poo-pooed fears of rockets at Ashkelon; in the summer of 1995, he said, "We know all the scare-stories of the Likud. They promised [when the first Oslo agreement was signed, in 1993] that there would be Katyushas from Gaza. It's been a year already that Gaza is mostly under PA control, and there haven't been any Katyushas, and there won't be any."
Sderot, with 20,000 residents, as well as neighboring kibbutzim and moshavim, have been under fire for seven years, and beginning last October, terrorists in Gaza have fired rockets into Netivot (population 26,000) as well.
President Shimon Peres toured communities in the Gaza-border area Monday morning. He told municipal leaders that he had talked this morning with Prime Minister Olmert about an immediate transfer of the necessary funding for shelters and other forms of reinforcement.