Cease-fire breached as three rockets launched at south (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel, Yanir Yagna, Gili Cohen , Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff 03/15/12)
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Two days after an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire was announced in the
south, Palestinians violated the truce by launching three Grad
rockets at Israel last night.
And in Gaza, a Palestinian boy accidentally struck by a bullet when
Palestinian gunmen fired in the air during a funeral died of his
injuries on Wednesday.
Initially, Palestinian health official Adham Abu Salmia said that 8-
year-old Barka al-Mugrahbi died of wounds sustained in an Israeli air
strike on Monday. But the boy´s relatives and witnesses later said he
was marching in a funeral procession for a Gaza militant when he was
struck in the head by an errant bullet fired by other militants.
An Iron Dome anti-missile battery shot down two of the Grads, which
were aimed at Be´er Sheva, while the third landed on open ground near
Ofakim. The rockets caused no casualties or property damage, but some
people suffered anxiety attacks.
After the rockets landed, shortly before 7 P.M., five southern
cities - Be´er Sheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malakhi and Gan
Yavneh - decided to cancel school on Thursday, over the objections of
the Home Front Command.
Earlier on Wednesday, Palestinians fired a mortar shell at the
western Negev, but it apparently fell short and landed in the Gaza
As of last night, no Palestinian organization had claimed
responsibility for the rockets. But the Israel Defense Forces
believes they were launched by one of the small, radical Islamist
factions in Gaza. Though all the factions´ leaders committed to the
truce in talks with Egyptian mediators, it seems some of their
operatives don´t agree.
Israel will presumably respond to the rocket fire, but its response
is expected to be moderate, in an effort to avoid a resumption of the
weekend´s fighting. Defense officials said they believe Hamas doesn´t
want a resumption right now and will therefore try to restrain
But they stressed that Israel will continue to carry out targeted
killings of terrorists if it receives intelligence warnings of a
"There´s no magic solution to rockets," GOC Southern Command Tal
Russo said on Wednesday during a visit to a high school in
Omer. "There won´t be a complete solution even if we embark on
another round of fighting."
Speaking before the rockets were fired at Be´er Sheva, Russo
added, "I don´t know how long the quiet will hold. But if they
violate the quiet, we have many tools. In this round, we didn´t use
all the tools at our disposal. There could be situations in which a
larger operation is needed."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was supposed to leave for Paris and
Madrid on Wednesday. But despite the cease-fire declaration he
canceled the trip due to the "security situation in southern Israel" -
raising the question of whether he expects another round of fighting
The trip was scheduled to discuss Iran´s nuclear program with French
President Nicolas Sarkozy and the new Spanish prime minister, Mariano
Rajoy. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 03/15/12)
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