Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jerusalem Post:

50 mortars fired into Israel, 2 injured; IDF strikes Gaza By YAAKOV LAPPIN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
03/19/2011 09:59
IDF responds to attacks with tank, helicopter strikes; Hamas claims responsibility for 10 projectiles.

Civilian areas in southern Israel were heavily shelled by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza on Saturday morning, when more than 50 mortars were fired at the regional councils of Sha'ar Hanegev, Eshkol and Sdot Hanegev.

Two Israelis sustained light injuries by shrapnel and were transferred to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.

Hamas's armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for a dozen of the mortars fired.

The IDF responded to the barrage of mortars with tank shells and helicopter attacks. Six Palestinians were reportedly injured in the strikes.

Following the attacks, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed diplomats in New York to lodge a complaint with the United Nations over the mortar barrage.

One building sustained extensive damage in the Eshkol Regional Council although a majority of the projectiles landed in open areas, local officials reported.

The regional council is inhabited predominantly by farmers, and has been the target of Palestinian shelling for several years.

Eyal Brandeis, a kibbutz secretary in the Eshkol Regional Council, and the head of a local emergency response team, told The Jerusalem Post that the injured were a married couple who had been attempting to seek cover in a safe zone - a room reinforced with concrete to protect from projectiles.

"It happened just as they entered the room. The couple were responding to instructions we sent out on cell phone text messages calling on all residents to seek shelter. They ran to the room, and shrapnel went through the window just before they could close it," Brandeis said.

The man suffered shrapnel injuries to his back, while the woman was injured in her hand, Brandeis added. The couple received medical attention on the spot before being evacuated by Magen David Adom paramedics to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva for further treatment.

"We are used to sporadic rocket and mortar fire, but this was not the daily show we are used to," Brandais said, referring to the high number of mortars fired at his community on Saturday. "Luckily, we escaped with few injuries. We'll have to get through this," he added.

Southern communities cannot be alerted to mortars by the Color Red rocket alert system and have developed their own cell phone text messaging alert system. "When we heard the high number of explosions across the area, we knew this was not an ordinary attack," he said.

Ronit Minaker, a spokeswoman for the Eshkol Regional Council, said residents had been ordered to stay indoors for the duration of the morning. "People were compliant with the safety instructions," she said.

"We're not used to this kind of massive fire. But we have experienced it before, and we know how to respond," Minaker added.

"Our residents expect the government to do everything it can to end this. They also expect the government to construct safe rooms in the many communities that still lack them," she said.

Local authorities said on Saturday that they were in the midst of a legal campaign aimed at forcing the government to deploy the Iron Dome anti-rocket and anti-mortar shield.

Officials are petitioning the Supreme Court to order the state to deploy the shield to protect communities situated at least 4.5 kilometers away from the border and beyond. The system is unable to neutralize projectiles fired at communities up to 4.5 kilometers from the border.

The Supreme Court has ordered the state to reply to the petition within 30 days.


Israel strikes Gaza after massive mortar barrage on south
Hamas claims responsibility for 10 of the more than 50 mortars fired on southern Israel earlier in day; Gaza medics say five Hamas officers and boy injured in Israeli air strike.
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Service and News Agencies

Israel struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, after a barrage of over 50 mortars were fired into southern Israel earlier in the day.

The Israeli air strikes on Gaza wounded five Hamas security officers and a boy, Gaza medics said.

Two Israelis were wounded and a home was damaged by the mortars fired from Gaza earlier in the day. Saturday morning's bombardment was the heaviest one launched by Gaza militants for months.

Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, claimed responsibility for firing 10 of Saturday's mortars, an unusual move after a long period in which it had let other smaller militant groups do its bidding.

"Targeting the enemy's posts was a response to the ongoing Zionist assaults, airstrikes and tanks shelling on the Gaza Strip. The latest was two days ago, where two of our mujahidin were killed," said Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said Israel was holding Hamas "solely responsible for the attacks".

Gaza residents reported hearing constant shelling along the enclave's border with Israel and the IDF spokesman said tanks assisted by aircraft were firing at militant targets in the coastal strip.

Last month, two grad rockets were fired at Be'er Sheva for the first time since the city was hit by rocket fire in the 2009 Gaza war.

1 comment:

Alexander Münch said...

Hamas has the best Mortar operators ! FACT !
Each time they fire a mortar shell or a Qassam rocket, they hit a MIRACLE !

The worse scenario for them is ( Allah Istor ! ), a hospital set on fire by mistake or ( the unthinkable !.. ), a slaughter of 50 kids in a kindergarten as a result of faulty rocket !...