damaged classroom in Be'er Sheva
damaged classroom in Be'er ShevaFlash 90

Hamas fired off yet another round of Katyusha and Kassam rockets at Ashdod, Ashkelon and elsewhere  late Thursday afternoon, in an apparent desperate to the IDF’s liquidation of a top Hamas terrorist.

Two Grad Katyusha rockets were fired at Be’er Sheva, nearly 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Gaza late Thursday afternoon, and another one landed north of Ashkelon.  No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

Shortly afterwards, a rocket exploded in the port city of Ashdod; several people were treated for trauma, but no property damage was caused.  Around the same time, sirens were sounded in Yavneh, Gedera and Sdot Negev.

The terrorist who was targeted and killed in the IAF attack in Gaza was Nizar Rayyan – the most senior Hamas figure to be eliminated by the IDF since Abdel Aziz Rantisi nearly five years ago.

Sent His Son to Die

Rayyan had 12 children from his four wives; he dispatched one of his sons on a suicide bombing mission in Gush Katif in 2001, killing two Israelis.  He was also responsible for an attack in which ten Israelis were murdered in the Ashdod port in March 2004.  Rayyan was a major morale-booster for Hamas, and his bombed home served as a storehouse for arms and weapons, a communications center, a terrorist meeting place, and as camouflage for an escape tunnel.  His death has sorely shocked the organization.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, a Grad-Katyusha rocket hit the 8th floor of a building in Ashdod, causing heavy damage but no physical injuries.  No fewer than 32 people were treated for trauma, and one of the apartments caught fire.  All the residents – many of them heart patients and children – were evacuated from the building, for fear that it might collapse.  Minutes after the attack, the IDF succeeded in locating and destroying the terrorist cell responsible for the launch.