The rocket war in and around Gaza is heating up.  The Israel Air Force bombed Gaza three times on Thursday afternoon in retaliation for a Katyusha rocket that landed further north than any rocket ever fired from Gaza. Shortly afterwards, a Kassam rocket attack from Gaza injured a Sderot woman hanging laundry.

An Iranian-supplied Katyusha rocket fired around 11 AM on Thursday by Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza towards Ashkelon landed further north than ever before - 16.5 kilometers (10 miles) from Gaza. No one was hurt in the attack, though the missile landed only some 50 meters (55 yards) from a residential neighborhood.

The IDF retaliated for the attack nearly four hours later by air-bombing several terrorist targets in Gaza City, including the home of an Islamic Jihad terrorist who was killed in a similar attack last week. The terrorist, Muhammad Dahduh, had been considered the mastermind of Kassam rocket production in Gaza.  His now-destroyed home was empty at the time of today's attack, though nine passersby were reported injured by the bomb. 

Eight Palestinian terrorists were killed in clashes with Israeli forces throughout the day; the last one was in the midst of trying to fire anti-rocket rockets when he was killed.  Seven other Kassam rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza this morning; no one was hurt.

Miracle in Sderot

Shortly afterwards, a round of between two and five Kassam rockets was fired from Gaza, with one of them landing in the yard of a residential home in Sderot.  A woman who had been hanging laundry there ran for cover when she heard the Color Red early warning alarm, and the rocket fell just several feet from the laundry lines.  The woman, and several other Sderot residents, were evacuated to a hospital and were treated for shock.

The Katyusha fired at Ashkelon, a Grad model 122 millimeters (nearly 5 inches) in diameter, was the fifth such rocket fired in recent years towards Ashkelon. 

PA Blames Israel

The Palestinian Authority retaliated for Israel's retaliation not only with Kassams, but also on the international media stage.  Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, asserted that Israel's counter-terrorism operations were “a bloody Israeli message in which Israel shirks itself [sic] of any commitment.” Rudeineh also accused Israel of “killing the spirit of the Annapolis conference.”