Attacks Continue, Ofakim Hit

Attacks from Gaza continued on Monday, with rockets reaching Yavne and Ofakim and wounding one. Israel blasts Gaza targets.

Maayana Miskin,

Site of rocket attack (archive)
Site of rocket attack (archive)
File photo

Attacks from Gaza continued on Monday night. Terrorists hit the cities of Yavne and Ofakim for the first time. Military experts say the cities lie at the outer reach of Hamas' rocket range.

One man was moderately wounded in the Ofakim strike, and six suffered shock. Rockets hit Sderot and Netivot as well, but did not cause injury. Explosions were heard in Ashkelon, and at least two mortar shells were fired at towns in the Eshkol region.

A total of approximately 90 rockets hit southern Israel on Monday. Three people were killed: Hani Elmahadi was killed in Ashkelon in the morning, Irit Sheetrit was killed in Ashdod at night and an as of yet unidentified soldier was killed in Nahal Oz. Two people were badly wounded in rocket attacks over the course of the day, six were moderately wounded and 23 were lightly wounded.

Sheetrit, 39, was driving with her sister when the “Color Red” rocket warning system sounded. The two exited their car and took shelter in a nearby bus stop, as suggested by government guidelines. The rocket landed nearby, and Sheetrit was critically wounded. Her sister Ayelet was wounded as well.

Sheetrit is survived by her husband and four children.

Israel continued to attack targets in Gaza, blasting buildings near the Hamas parliament in Gaza City. No casualties were reported.

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday night to discuss the situation. Following the meeting Olmert did not detail the government's plans, but said, “We're not talking about an exit strategy anymore, but working to obtain our goals in the Gaza operation. We're continuing according to the original plan.”

As Gaza terrorists continue their attacks, Israel's strikes on Hamas will become more aggressive, Olmert said.

Gaza terrorists expressed confidence in an interview with Ynet on Monday night, saying they have the public's backing. Israel's attempts to win Gaza residents over by sending messages blaming Hamas and other terrorist groups for the situation in the area will fail, said one group's spokesman. “They don't hear the cries of 'Allah is great' coming forth from the homes as rockets are fired,” he said.

While planning Israel's attack strategy, Barak also authorized the continued transfer of aid and supplies to Gaza via Israeli crossings in the Negev. Approximately 100 trucks carrying food, medicine and other supplies will enter Gaza on Tuesday, as will five ambulances donated by Turkey.

Scattered groups of Arab Israelis took part in riots and violent attacks throughout the day in protest of operations in Gaza. In Jerusalem, hundreds rioted and attacked police while others set fires, threw stones, and firebombed a local hospital. On Monday night attacks escalated, with a terrorist opening fire on police officers stationed in Abu Dis. The officers were unhurt.