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Rocket Attack Damages Houses in Sderot

A Kassam rocket exploded next to a house in Sderot at about 8:45 a.m. Thursday, causing damaging and traumatizing a number of residents.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 2/26/2009, 9:19 AM / Last Update: 2/26/2009, 10:19 AM

Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

Gaza terrorists resumed their near-daily rocket fire on southern Israel Thursday morning with an attack on the nearby city of Sderot. 

A short-range Kassam rocket exploded next to two houses in the Gaza Belt community at about 8:45 a.m., damaging both buildings and traumatizing a number of residents.

Several people were treated for severe emotional shock by Magen David Adom medics who raced to the scene following the attack. The house sustained considerable damage as a result of the rocket explosion.

The attack was the second of two that came as part of what has become a daily delivery of rocket fire aimed by Gaza terrorists at southern Israeli civilians.

The Color Red rocket alert siren blared its warning the first time at about 8:30 a.m., sending residents scrambling for shelter just 15 seconds before an explosion rocked the Sha’ar HaNegev region.

The short-range missile exploded in an open area, and no physical injuries or damage was reported.

Hamas Resumes 'Import' of Grad Missiles
Hamas has resumed smuggling long-range Grad missiles into Gaza through Egypt, according to Channel 2 television news reporter Ronnie Daniel.

Last month, the United States and a consortium of European nations vowed to stem such weapons smuggling by placing international observers on site and using advanced technology to supervise the Egyptian border, with Cairo's agreement.

Daniel reported that explosives are also entering Gaza and that the IDF's targeted air strikes on smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi corridor along the Egyptian border has not stopped the activity. The IAF has been authorized to bomb the tunnels only in specific retaliation for rocket attacks against Israeli communities.

'Virtual Ceasefire?'
According to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Gaza-based Hamas terrorists and Israel have reached a virtual ceasefire, despite the near-daily attacks, and Israel's targeted retaliations.

Aboul Gheit spoke with reporters on Wednesday following negotiations on a ceasefire and the release of Arab terrorists in exchange for the return of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel and Hamas have reached several ceasefire agreements over the past two years, but most of them were broken within a few days. Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire at the end of its counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead in Gaza on January 18, followed a few hours later by a similar declaration from Hamas. Nonetheless, the terrorists continued to launch rocket attacks at Israel, which Israel then responded to with targeted air strikes and occasional limited ground actions.