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Rockets on Sderot as PM Claims Withdrawal to Strengthen Negev

Two Kassam rockets slammed into the center of the Israeli town of Sderot, in the western Negev, Thursday afternoon.
First Publish: 6/16/2005, 3:57 PM / Last Update: 6/16/2005, 6:55 PM

One of the rockets hit a truck whose driver was not inside and the other fell near Sderot’s college campus. The “Red Dawn” early warning system activated, alerting residents to the fact that rockets had been fired, but it is uncertain how long before they landed the “Red Dawn” warning was heard on loudspeakers around the city.

The rockets were fired from the northern Gaza Arab city of Beit Hanoun, a hotbed of Kassam rocket launchers 5km (3 miles) from the town of Sderot, which is located within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Sderot will remain in the sites of terrorists in Beit Hanoun, even after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Unilateral Disengagement Plan.

PM Sharon, addressing a conference in the Galilee minutes before the rockets hit Sderot, said his plan to withdraw from Gaza and northern Samaria would strengthen settlement in the Galilee and Negev regions.

The Islamic Jihad terror group took responsibility for the attack in a broadcast on Lebanese Hizbullah television.

Mortar shells were also fired Thursday, at the Gush Katif community of Gadid. No injuries or damage were reported.

While the army has carried out a limited number of surgical strikes in an effort to target terrorists, most attacks during recent weeks have gone without a response. IDF commanders in Gaza continue to warn the restraint policy will only result in a further increase in terrorism targeting both civilian and military targets throughout the Gaza area.

Wednesday evening, a motorist traveling in the Hevron Hills region was targeted in a firebomb attack. No injuries or damage were reported.

A mortar shell fired at the Gaza community of Netzarim landed in an area under Palestinian Authority control.