Kassam Rockets Smash into Sderot House and Streets

Between four and six Kassam rockets hit the city of Sderot this morning, for the first time in 18 days. One of the rockets scored a direct hit on a house, sending three people to the hospital.

, | updated: 11:06

As is customary after attacks of this nature, Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz held a security consultation this morning to consider possible Israeli responses.

IDF Operations Commander Maj.-Gen. Yisrael Ziv commented today that now is not the right time to retaliate for attacks of this nature. "We view this morning's shooting at Sderot with great gravity," Ziv said. "In the larger picture, the question is asked whether this is the right time to begin a comprehensive offensive attack. We think not. We must exhaust the other channels, and not reach a situation in which the calm falls apart."

MK Yuval Shteinitz, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, disagreed, calling upon the government to wage an all-out military operation in Gaza. "A comprehensive military campaign such as Operation Defensive Shield II is needed to strike the manufacturing plants and storehouses used for the Kassam rockets and mortar shells," Shteinitz said. He added that Israel must weaken Hamas "before the disengagement is implemented."

Three rockets hit at 7 AM, two more explosions were heard at 7:15, and another rocket was fired at Sderot early this afternoon. One of the morning missiles penetrated the roof of a house, sending a 36-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged 18 and 6, into a condition of medical shock. The two were taken for treatment to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. The Red Dawn missile warning system effectively announced warning of the approaching rockets, causing 10-12 seconds of extra panic as the residents waited tensely to see where the rockets would hit.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to "Jewish extremists' entry into the Al Aksa mosque in Jerusalem yesterday." Others say it was a sign of infighting between PA Chairman Abu Mazen and Hamas.

Hundreds of city residents gathered in the town center this afternoon to protest the helplessness of the country in protecting its citizens. The husband and father of this morning's wounded victims said, "With his behavior, the Prime Minister is destroying not only Sderot, but the security of the entire country." Another resident said, "There is nothing more degrading than to have the State of Israel remain silent in the face of repeated attacks against a full-fledged city in Israel."

On another front in the ongoing Palestinian terrorist war, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded and the head of the Islamic Jihad terror organization was killed in a military operation in Jenin. The battle in the northern Shomron terrorism capital was initiated in order to arrest wanted terrorists, of whom at least seven were apprehended.

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