Ashkelon Man Dies in Rocket Attacks; IDF Strikes Back
A man in his 50s was killed Saturday night as more rockets fell in southern Israel, with missiles hitting Ashkelon. Two people were injured in Ashkelon, as Grad rockets struck several parts of the city.
One of the rockets hit in or near a house, and a very loud explosion was heard – indicating the possibility, a Magen David Adom spokesperson said, that a gas canister had been hit.
One person was taken to Barzilai Hospital in the city in serious condition, where he later died of his wounds. A second person was injured lightly to moderately when another rocket slammed into a street in the city minutes later.
The Red Color early warning system sounded in Sderot after the attack on Ashkelon, and another Grad rocket hit Ashdod as well. No injuries or damage were reported in that attack. Altogether, over 30 Grad missiles, Katyusha rockets, and mortar shells have fallen in southern Israel Saturday.
Meanwhile, Gaza sources said that the IDF had attacked a terrorist gang in southern Gaza Saturday night, minutes after the attack on Ashkelon. Two terrorists affiliated with Islamic Jihad were reported killed in that raid. The IDF has not yet commented on the report.
Earlier, IDF forces attacked a terrorist gang in the southern Gaza Strip that was preparing to launch long-range rockets at Israeli targets. The gang was also responsible for the firing of a Grad rocket towards southern Israel this past Wednesday. Five terrorists were reported killed in the attack.
In a statement, the IDF said that it "would not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to operate with strength and determination against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."
Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Brigade terror gangs took responsibility for Saturday's Grad attacks. Footage released by Islamic Jihad Saturday night showed terrorists firing the rockets at Israel using a portable rocket launcher installed on the back of a pickup truck – a method of attack that had not been used in Gaza previously. Media analysts said that the footage indicated that Gaza terror groups had developed several advanced capabilities in recent months.
Earlier, Gaza Arab terrorists fired over a half a dozen Grad rockets at Ashdod. One of them hit the yard of a school in Ashdod, and another struck in the parking lot of an apartment building. Two classrooms were damaged in the first attack, and a dozen cars were destroyed in the second. Three people were injured in attacks on Ashdod and Gan Yavneh.
Classes in schools within 40 kilometers of the Gaza border, including in Be'ersheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Sederot, are cancelled Sunday. Dozens of people were treated for shock in Saturday's attack.
In a statement Saturday night, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demanded that Hamas put a stop to the rocket attacks – or else.
“We do not seek a confrontation with the Palestinians and we do not wish to increase tensions", he said. "But we will not allow these attacks to continue without a response. I very much hope that – with the help of neighboring countries and the international community - that these attacks will end tonight. Otherwise there will be serious consequences in the coming days”.