Medics treat Kassam victim (archive)
Medics treat Kassam victim (archive)Israel News Photo: Flash 90

Gaza terrorists launched a barrage of Grad long-range missiles at the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon early Sunday afternoon as ground operations continued in Day 9 of Operation Cast Lead.

Several shorter-range rockets also slammed into areas around and within the western Negev city of Sderot, less than a mile away from Gaza.

One rocket exploded in a populated area of the port city of Ashdod, causing a fire to erupt. One woman was injured from smoke inhalation and shock. Firefighters raced to the scene and worked to extinguish the fire.

A listener in Ashdod called in to Radio Darom (Radio of the South) shortly after the attack to say that he had watched as a missile had come hurtling towards a group of four houses in his neighborhood. When he emerged from his shelter, he realized that the houses were still standing intact and there was no damage, and wondered why. Walking over to inspect the site, the listener said he saw that the missile had miraculously gone straight into the sewage manhole located between the four buildings, and exploded underground -- wrecking the plumbing, but leaving the buildings and their occupants safe from harm.

Two Kassam rockets exploded in unpopulated areas of the Sha’ar HaNegev region; one exploded near an educational institution and the other exploded near a kibbutz (agricultural cooperative). Two rockets exploded in an unpopulated area in the Eshkol region within an hour of each other.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the Sderot, Eshkol, or Sha’ar HaNegev explosions.

A Kassam rocket exploded in an agricultural area near Netivot at about 10:20 a.m. Sunday morning. No one was injured, but property damage was reported in the attack.

During the morning, three short-range rockets also exploded in the Eshkol region, all landing in open areas. No one was injured and no damage was reported.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning a Kassam rocket scored a direct hit on a home in nearby Sderot, completely demolishing the structure. A woman who was inside at the time of the attack miraculously escaped with only minor shrapnel wounds. Four other people suffered severe emotional trauma and were also treated by Magen David Adom medics who raced to the scene, before being evacuated to hospital.

A total of three rockets were fired at Sderot during the attack, with two of the rockets landing in unpopulated areas. Neither caused injuries or damage.

Two Grad-type Katyusha missiles were also fired at Netivot at around the same time, according to Voice of Israel government radio.  Both missiles landed in open areas. No one was injured and there were no reports of damage.