Gaza rocket fire continues; Grad hits near Beersheba (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN, YAAKOV KATZ, JPOST.COM STAFF 06/20/12)
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Four Border Police officers are injured by rocket overnight: 1
injured moderately, 3 lightly in Ashkelon Coast area; over 50
rockets, mortar shells pound Israel; IAF strikes 7 Gaza targets;
Palestinian terror groups fired a Grad rocket into Israeli territory
that exploded in the Bnei Shimon region near Beersheba Wednesday
morning. The rocket exploded in an open area, causing no injuries or
damage. Shortly after, three Kassam rockets exploded in open areas in
the Eshkol region.
Late Tuesday night, four border policemen in the Ashkelon Coast area
were injured by shrapnel, one moderately, when a Kassam rocket
directly struck a building, after nearly 50 rockets and mortar shells
pounded southern Israel.
Israel was expected to escalate its response to the attacks and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak held security consultations late Tuesday
night to review various options, following one of the worst days of
violence in months.
The moderately injured man suffered shrapnel wounds to his legs and
Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics were evacuating him to Barzilai
Medical Center in Ashkelon. The other border policeman suffered light
IAF aircraft struck seven terror targets in the Gaza Strip overnight
Tuesday in response to the continued rocket and mortar fire into
southern Israel, according to the IDF Spokesman´s Office.
Palestinians did not immediately report any injuries or deaths
resulting from the IAF strikes although at least six were killed in
strikes since Monday.
The rocket fire continued early Wednesday morning, with at least
twelve rockets falling in the Ashkelon Coast and Eshkol Regional
Council areas. No injuries were reported in the attacks, but a
structure sustained some damage.
Earlier Tuesday, seven rockets landed in the Lachish region and 22
landed in the Negev. Residents in the Ashkelon and Sdot Negev regions
were ordered to stay close to bomb shelters throughout the day.
Police bomb squads spent the day searching for rocket impact areas to
recover the remains of the projectiles.
Israel was concerned with the increase in rocket fire but
particularly with Hamas’s declared involvement in the attacks, a
clear break from its earlier policy not to attack Israel.
Previously, as was demonstrated during the last round of violence
with Islamic Jihad in March, Hamas refrained from firing its long-
range Grad-model Katyusha rockets into Israeli cities. Instead, it
allowed other groups, such as Islamic Jihad or the Popular Resistance
Committees to fire into Israel.
In the afternoon, the Israel Air Force attacked a motorbike in the
central Gaza Strip, wounding one person, who the IDF said was
involved in the rocket fire into Israel.
Iron Dome batteries were deployed throughout the South but by the
evening they had not been activated. The IDF said the batteries were
on high alert and were prepared to defend the cities they surround.
Officials at Sapir College near Sderot canceled a graduation ceremony
scheduled for Tuesday evening in light of the ongoing rocket fire.
Hamas claimed the rocket attacks are a response to the killings of
Palestinians in recent days. The IAF killed at least six Palestinians
since Monday, when it launched a series of airstrikes against a
sniper and rocket cell.
Meanwhile Tuesday, Reuters obtained a video showing a group of masked
men who claimed responsibility for the attack along the Egyptian
border on Monday, during which terrorists killed an Israeli Arab
construction worker. The men said they were part of a newly formed
Islamic movement called “The Shura Council of Mujahideen in the Holy
The masked men used Islamic slogans, pledging to liberate the Holy
Land from what they termed Jewish control.
A second video showed two men, one of whom said they were about to
embark on a mission to attack “the Zionist forces on the border of
Egypt and occupied Palestine,” an apparent reference to Monday’s
incident on the Sinai border.
The first man said he was an Egyptian named Abu Salah al- Masri. The
other said he came from Saudi Arabia and gave his name as Abu
The videos could not immediately be verified.
“The more things deteriorate, the closer we come to a decision we
don’t want to make,” Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said.
“The prospect of a ground operation [in the Gaza Strip] shouldn’t
frighten us," Shalom said.
“If this situation escalates, and I hope it won’t, then all options
are open,” he told Israel Radio. “They know it. We know it. The
international community knows it.”
Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/20/12)
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