30 rockets strike Israel day after coordinated terror
attacks kill 8
At least 7 wounded as Palestinians fire Grad, Qassam missiles at
Israel; Iron Dome successfully intercepts rockets bound for Ashdod
By Anshel Pfeffer and Haaretz
Less than a day after coordinated terror attacks killed eight
Israelis, Palestinian attacks on Israel continue as 30 Grad and
Qassam rockets were fired throughout southern Israel on Friday.
Most of the rockets fell in open areas and did not cause damage or
injuries, but one of the missiles hit a building in an Ashdod
industrial park, wounding six people, one of them seriously.
The Israel Defense Forces deployed the Iron Dome missile defense
system on Friday evening to successfully intercept rockets bound
for the port city of Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Three Qassam rockets were shot at the western Negev communities
overnight. Emergency sirens were sounded, but no injuries or
damage were reported.
Large contingents of police forces arrived at the scene of the
rocket attacks and are on alert for additional missiles. Residents
are called to remain in close proximity to bomb shelters.
The Palestinian rocket fire followed an Israel Air Force strikeon
several targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday.
The IDF spokesman's office said in a statement that Israeli planes
targeted weapon manufacturing centers in central Gaza Strip and
two more sites in the north and south. "The IDF will not tolerate
any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers," the
statement read," and will continue to operate resolutely against
anyone who terrorizes Israel. The Hamas terrorist organization is
the address, and it bears the responsibility."
The IAF also launched an attack on the Gaza Strip overnight which
came in response to the coordinated terror attacks on Israel that
took place on Thursday afternoon.
IAF aircraft attacked seven sites in the Gaza Strip overnight. An
IDF Spokesperson reported that the targets included two terror
activity sites and a weapons storage unit in north Gaza, and two
smuggling tunnels and a terror activity site in south Gaza.
The air force attacks came as a response to a day of increased
violence, in which eight Israelis were killed and 30 more wounded
during a well-planned terror attack along the Israeli-Egyptian
The attack was planned in the Gaza Strip by the Popular Resistance
Committees and perpetrated by terrorists who crossed from Gaza
into Sinai via smuggling tunnels. They then traveled some 200
kilometers to reach an area of the border protected only by a
tattered wire fence, about 15 kilometers north of Eilat.
Israeli forces killed five of the terrorists, and Egyptian
soldiers reportedly killed two more. But the Israel Defense Forces
estimates that 15 to 20 participated in the attack, meaning most
IDF officials believe the goal of the attack was to kidnap a
soldier. The IDF had previously responded to warnings of a planned
attack, beefing up its forces in the area.
The assault began around noon, when three terrorists armed with
rifles, grenades and explosives entered Israel from Egypt and
stationed themselves at intervals of about 200 meters along the
highway to Eilat, Route 12, at a stretch of road that runs very
close to the border. At 12:30 P.M., they opened fire on an Egged
Bus 392, wounding seven passengers, causing light to moderate
injuries. Most of those injured were soldiers.
A few minutes later, an empty bus and several cars arrived. The
terrorists opened fire again, and when the bus stopped, one of the
terrorists ran up to the bus and activated his explosive belt,
killing himself and the driver.
The shooting killed four occupants of one car, plus the driver of
At that point, the first soldiers arrived in two vehicles. One
vehicle ran down one of the terrorists, killing him. Soldiers in
the second vehicle opened fire on the third terrorist. One
soldier, Staff Sgt. Moshe Naftali of Ofra, was killed in the
ensuing gun battle.
Additional police and army forces then arrived on the scene and
killed the third terrorist. They also opened fire on two
additional terrorists who were waiting on the Egyptian side of the
Assault helicopters joined the battle, and a terrorist fired a
rocket-propelled grenade at one of the helicopters, but missed.
The two terrorists in Sinai were killed after policemen from
Yamam, the special anti-terror unit, pursued them a short distance
into Egyptian territory. The policemen returned to Israel
While all this was happening, the terrorists also fired mortars at
a civilian work crew repairing the fence nearby, but caused no
The Egyptian army later reported that it killed two additional
terrorists in Sinai. The IDF was in close contact with the
Egyptian army throughout.
After the battle, the IDF brought in sappers, who discovered bombs
planted along the road and dismantled them.
Then, at about 6:45 P.M., as senior defense officials were
briefing reporters on the earlier attack, terrorists opened fire
once again − this time at a Yamam force patrolling the border not
far from the site of the original attack. One policeman was killed
in the assault and another was wounded.
The second attack occurred about 45 minutes after the Israel Air
Force attacked a group of senior PRC officials in Rafah, a Gazan
town on the Sinai border. Among the six people killed were Kamel
Nirab, the head of the PRC; Imad Hamed, the person responsible for
its military activity in Gaza; Khaled Shaath, a leading member of
the PRC’s military wing who was involved in rocket attacks on
Israel; and Khaled Masri, who was involved in kidnapping soldier
Gilad Shalit in 2006. The Shin Bet security service suspects that
Hamed is the one who planned yesterday’s attack near Eilat.
In response to the air strike, Palestinians fired two Grad rockets
at Ashkelon. One landed in an open area near the city and caused
no casualties or damage. The other appeared headed for a populous
area of the city and was shot down by an Iron Dome anti-missile
battery that had been stationed there a few days before due to an
escalation in the rocket fire from Gaza.
Two other rockets were fired at Ashkelon at about 10 P.M., and the
IDF is preparing for further escalation in rocket fire in response
to last night’s air strike.