After quiet night, rockets begin anew in southern Israel

Jerusalem Post

By YAAKOV LAPPIN,  BEN HARTMAN, , JPOST.COM STAFF
LAST UPDATED: 11/19/2012 06:35

Terrorists in Gaza renew rocket fire after desisting from launches overnight; Israeli strikes in Gaza kill nine through the night, target police station in Gaza City.

Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Terrorists in the  Gaza strip renewed their fire Monday morning after a relatively quiet  night on the Israeli front, setting off the red alert at the Ashkelon  Regional Council area and Sha’ar Hanegev. A rocket landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage, Army Radio reported.

Israeli strikes in Gaza killed nine people overnight Sunday, Palestinian sources reported. One of the strikes hit a police station in Gaza City.

A witness on the scene, Gal Goldberg, 17, described hearing a powerful blast as the rocket landed on the home next door to his own.

“When we heard the siren we entered a safe room, the blast shook the walls, we went outside and saw people running towards the house that was hit. We saw widespread wreckage,” Goldberg said.

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The residents of the house had taken cover in the safe room.

Goldberg added that the IDF must continue their operation in Gaza.

Hamas fired its most intense rocket salvos yet on southern Israel on Sunday, as it and other terrorist factions launched 120 rockets into Israel during the day, including two Fajr-5 missiles at Tel Aviv on Sunday evening.

Both were intercepted over the Dan region.

The IAF struck over 120 targets in Gaza,  and targeted senior operational Hamas terrorists orchestrating attacks on  Israeli communities.
Palestinian sources reported a wave of IAF strikes  on targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night. According to the unconfirmed  reports, missiles were fired near the home in central Gaza of Hamas senior  operative Marwan Issa, who has been named as the successor to military head  Ahmad Jabari, killed in an air force strike on Wednesday.

The city was  also targeted on Sunday morning, triggering the Iron Dome battery. A piece of  shrapnel from a destroyed enemy projectile set a car in Holon on fire. The  driver, an older man, tried to put out the fire, then removed items from the  trunk before escaping as the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

Seventy-six  rockets exploded during the course of the day in southern Israel, with Ashdod  coming under its heaviest barrage yet by seven Grad rockets. Six were  intercepted and one smashed into a residential building, wounding two residents  lightly. The Iron Dome intercepted 38 rockets heading for built-up areas on  Sunday.

Soon after the Ashdod grad salvo on Sunday afternoon, the IDF  targeted the home of the head of Hamas’s rocket program, Yahiya  Abiya.

Army sources said Abiya was directly responsible for the majority  of the rockets that have been fired at Israel.

It was unclear whether  Abiya was hurt.

Palestinian medical sources said 11 people died in the  bombing of the three-story building.

The Ma’an News Agency reported that  the number of Palestinian dead since the current round of violence began last  Wednesday afternoon rose to at least 72 on Sunday, with hundreds  wounded.

Ashkelon came under heavy rocket attack on Sunday morning, with  four rockets scoring direct hits. Terrified residents sought cover as rockets  hit apartment buildings.

Two people were lightly wounded.

A  Palestinian rocket seriously injured a man in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.  Paramedics rushed him to the hospital.

Five civilians traveling in a  vehicle in Ofakim were injured – one seriously – by shrapnel from a  rocket.

On Sunday night, after a few hours of relative calm, the Code Red  siren sounded once more in Ashdod, Hof Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi and other cities  in the South.

“Today’s rocket salvos were especially intense, hitting  specific cities with five or 10 rockets at a time,” police spokesman Micky  Rosenfeld said.

He added that in light of the heightened intensity of the  salvos, it is especially important that people take cover immediately when the  rocket warning siren sounds, and stay put until several seconds after the alarm  is over.

Magen David Adom said its paramedics treated 40 wounded people  on Sunday, including seven people hurt by shrapnel.

MDA also treated 31  people suffering from shock, including six in Tel Aviv following rocket fire  toward the city.

Rocket attacks on Israel continue, but their ability to  launch rockets is decreasing,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen.

Yoav Mordechai  said.

“Hamas is using the Palestinian population as a human shield. We  have released footage of rocket fire from a mosque courtyard, prayer houses,  public places and homes,” Mordechai added.

“Many of their rockets are  falling inside the Gaza Strip.”

The IDF has hit more than 1,200 terrorist  targets in Gaza since the beginning of the operation.

The army has  completed preparations for a ground offensive, as it masses growing forces at  the border with Gaza.

Training for such an offensive is  complete.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.



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