Gaza Rockets Bombard Western Negev

Three people suffered shrapnel wounds and several others suffered traumatic shock Sunday as Gaza terrorists continued to fire rockets at the Negev.

Contact Editor
Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 16:00

Gaza terrorists continued firing rockets at the western Negev Sunday afternoon, although the pace of the attacks had slowed by 4:00 p.m.

Three people, including a 12-year-old boy, suffered shrapnel wounds and several others suffered traumatic shock Sunday afternoon when the missiles bombarded the coastal city of Ashkelon at mid-day.

The terrorists are using 122-mm Grad-type Katyusha missiles, of the type that can reach a range of up to 40 kilometers. Several cars were also damaged after one of the missiles struck the southern end of the port city. The second missile landed in an unidentified location. Less than an hour later, two rockets exploded in the Eshkol region. No one was injured and no damage was reported. 

At least 16 missiles had exploded in southern Israel by 4:00 p.m. A Kassam rocket struck a kibbutz in the Eshkol region just before 4:00 p.m. No one was injured but there were reports of damage in the community.

A barrage of six short and medium-range missiles were fired at Israel shortly before 9:30 a.m. Two of the rockets exploded in between the coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Gaza. One of the missiles landed in the courtyard of a private home, shattering all the windows as it exploded. The occupants of the residence, however, were unhurt.

Ashdod is a key strategic target for Gaza terrorists. Home to some 207,000 residents, it is also the nation's second-largest port, accounting for 60 percent of Israel's imported goods and an important regional industrial center. The city is located within just 75 kilometers (45 miles) of both Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva.

The Color Red incoming air raid alert system also sounded in nearby Gan Yavneh for the first time as well, where residents have been instructed by Home Front Command to find shelter within 45 seconds of hearing the siren.

Residents in the city of Be'er Sheva, known as the "Capital of the South," as well as the community of Yavne, have also been warned by Home Front Command to listen for the Color Red incoming missile alert siren, or the sounds of explosions, and be prepared to race for shelters if necessary. Neither has ever been hit by a Gaza missile before.

A barrage of approximately six missiles landed around the coastal city of Ashkelon around 11:00 a.m. One woman was treated for traumatic shock, but there were no reports of damage. Two other Kassam rockets landed in the Eshkol region. No one was injured, but several buildings were damaged.

School Vacation Extended Until Further Notice
The Defense Ministry notified town authorities in the 20-kilometer Gaza Belt range that Chanukah school vacation will be extended till further notice, due to the security situation.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak made the decision on Sunday after consulting together with Education Minister Yuli Tamir, he said prior to the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

"We decided that the children's Chanukah break would continue and they won't return to school," said Barak. "The IDF will deepen and widen its operation as necessary. We embrace the residents of the Gaza vicinity for their stamina as we declare a special situation in the region."