A Kassam rocket exploded at the Sderot area college Saturday night, causing heavy damage. The building, which houses a school and center for disabled senior citizens, was empty for the weekend, a circumstance that prevented the mass casualties that could have occurred.
The IDF retaliated by striking two smuggling tunnels.
The rocket attack was the second in two days, following Friday’s grad rocket attack on the port city of Ashkelon that sent two people into shock and narrowly missed wounding others.
Saturday night’s Kassam attack from Hamas-controlled Gaza smashed into the roof of one of the buildings in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional College complex. Foreign media speculated that the real target of the de facto Hamas government in Gaza was the prospect of direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel over the proposal for a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders.
Israel’s retaliation Friday night retaliation for the Grad rocket attack on Ashkelon resulted in the death of a Hamas commander, long on Israel’s wanted list as a leader in the manufacture of rockets.
Following a complaint to the United Nations by Israel, the international body issued an unusually harsh statement against the attack. It customarily criticizes Israel for retaliatory attacks. “Indiscriminate rocket fire against civilians is completely unacceptable and constitutes a terrorist attack,” a UN official said in a statement this time.
Hamas denied the attack, saying it was a “fake" and was intended to interfere with the Goldstone Report that accuses Israel of war crimes in Operation Cast Lead against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure last year.
“We doubt Israel's claims that a resistance group from Gaza fired a missile on Ashkelon," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press release.
IDF spokesmen said, “The IDF remains committed to protecting the citizens of Israel and will continue to act against terrorism. The IDF holds Hamas solely responsible for terrorism emanating from Gaza' They added that approximately 110 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israeli civilians since the beginning of 2010, and more than 400 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel since the end of Operation Cast Lead.