A barrage of rockets from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip have been launched at southern Israel from Tuesday afternoon, after months of quiet. Eleven Border Guard officers were wounded last night as a result of the rocket fire on the western Negev. One officer sustained moderate injuries, while the others were lightly hurt.
The officers were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Hospital officials said they were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit suffering from shrapnel and blast injuries. A short while later a Qassam rocket hit the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, no injuries were reported.
According to a report in Haaretz, Hamas has taken responsibility for the rocket fire overnight Monday, and announced on Tuesday afternoon that its military wing had fired 10 Grad rockets toward Israel. The rocket fire marks an unusual move for the group, which has avoided launching rockets toward Israel for many months now.
Overnight Wednesday, ten more rockets were fired towards the western Negev. In total since Tuesday afternoon, over 40 rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza at Israel’s western Negev region. Following the barrage of rocket fire, communities near the Gaza border have been put on heightened alert. The residents were given instructions to remain at a close distance to a bomb shelter.
In response, Israeli aircrafts attacked seven targets across the Gaza Strip overnight. Palestinian sources in the Hamas-ruled territory have said no one was injured in the strikes.
In Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian sources said a two-year-old girl was killed and her brother wounded as a result of an explosion in their home in the Zeitun neighborhood, east of Gaza City. Palestinians sources claim the explosion was a result of an air strike – an allegation the IDF has strongly denies. Later on Tuesday an IDF Spokesperson’s statement said that no strike was launched at the area and that the explosion was a result of a Qassam rocket, which hit their home.
This latest round of fire follows an attack on Sunday morning by a terrorist cell that crossed the border from Egypt into Israel and detonated an explosive device that ended up killing an Israeli citizen who was working on the construction of the Israel-Egypt border fence.