Grad Missile Attack on Ashkelon, Apartment Building Hit

Two Grad missiles slammed into the coastal city of Ashkelon Monday morning, one scoring a direct hit on an apartment.

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Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 2:01 PM

At least two people were lightly wounded and 24 others suffered severe emotional shock as two Grad missiles fired by Gazan terrorists slammed into the coastal city of Ashkelon Monday morning and a number of Kassam rocket barrages hit elsewhere in the western Negev. All victims were taken to Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center.

Ashkelon Police Commander David Bitan said a seven-story apartment  building sustained a direct hit by a missile in the city's center. Three other buildings in the area were damaged as well by the blast.

 

One little girl was injured by flying shrapnel. Three other children who were in the house at the time managed to reach the secure room in their home just before the missile hit. None of them were physically injured but all suffered emotional shock, as did a number of other residents.

 

A second Grad missile slammed into a playground, narrowly missing a nursery for toddlers under age 3. The nursery teacher told Voice of Israel government radio that the children were in the middle of eating breakfast when she heard the Color Red incoming rocket alert siren. The children's teachers managed to take them to a bomb shelter. No one was injured, but they had to calm down the hysterical toddlers.

Frightened parents rushed to schools to pick up their sobbing children, who panicked when they heard the Color Red incoming rocket alert system wail.
 
The mother of a little boy named Niv told IDF Army Radio that her son was hysterical when she arrived at his school.  "What can I say? We aren't used to this. My son says he heard the Color Red siren – but I heard nothing.  He wants me to take him right home.  He is absolutely terrified," she said.  Young children could be heard crying next to Ziv's mother during the interview.

"Excuse me, but we do not have the Color Red alert system," declared another woman in tears. "We do not have it, no matter what anyone says. I ran from room to room, not having anywhere safe to go."

A crowd of angry residents gathered to shout their demands that the government do something to stop the attacks.

Sderot and Environs Also Under Attack
Meanwhile, a barrage of Kassam rockets and mortar shells were fired by terrorists in northern Gaza at targets elsewhere in the western Negev. At least 30 rockets and shells were reported by 10:30 a.m. Monday.

At least one exploded in the city of Sderot, and a second slammed into a field in Kibbutz Nahal Oz.  One rocket landed near a school. Three rockets exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council area. Others exploded elsewhere around the region.  No injuries were reported in any of the Kassam attacks.

Security Officials Warn Hamas Rockets Came from Iran

The Security Cabinet was warned Monday that the Grad rockets used to attack Ashkelon came from Iran.

 

Security officials estimated that Hamas and other terrorists have smuggled approximately 20 Grad rockets into Gaza but added that the Air Force has bombed out the largest explosives laboratory in the Gaza region.

 

They also warned that the northern border faces a threat of a Hizbullah attack in revenge for the recent assassination of Hizbullah mastermind terrorist Imad Mughniyeh although Israel has denied any involvement.

Attacks Came Within Hours After IDF Withdrawal From Northern Gaza

The missile barrages came shortly after the IDF withdrew its ground forces from northern Gaza. Soldiers fought in fierce clashes with terrorists. During the four-day military operation, Israeli soldiers eliminated some 110 terrorists and wounded hundreds of others.

 

Hamas and thousands of supporters celebrated the IDF withdrawal Monday morning, claiming "victory" over Israeli forces.  Mahmoud A-Zahar came out of hiding to tell the crowds that Hamas terrorists would soon infiltrate Israeli communities, "and let's see how they protect themselves then!"

Defense officials declined to say what the next step in "Operation Warm Winter" will be.  Prime Minister Olmert, however, said the offensive was not a one-time affair.

Assistance for Gaza from Egypt and Israel Amidst Clashes and Rocket Attacks
Even as the rockets continued to fly and fierce clashes raged between IDF soldiers and terrorists, Egypt opened its border to accept 150-200 wounded Gaza residents for medical treatment on Sunday. The same day, Israel sent 62 trucks loaded with medical and food supplies into the region through the Sufa Crossing.

By Monday, two hospitals in the Jewish State were also accepting Gazan Arabs who were injured in clashes between IDF soldiers and Palestinian Authority terrorists.

 



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