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August 21, 2011

Beersheba school hit, resident killed as Gaza rockets pound Israel

http://www.jewishjournal.com/israel/article/beersheba_school_hit_resident_killed_as_gaza_rockets_pound_israel_20110821

Israeli police officers survey the damage after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza landed in a school in the southern city of Beersheba Aug, 21. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israeli police officers survey the damage after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza landed in a school in the southern city of Beersheba Aug, 21. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A school in Beersheba was hit by a Grad rocket, one day after a city resident was killed as rockets from Gaza continue to slam into southern Israel. 

The school in Beersheba was empty during Sunday morning’s strike, with the start of school just two weeks away. At least six rockets were fired at the city; at least one was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Six rockets were also fired in the direction of Ashkelon, damaging a building. Three were intercepted by Iron Dome, according to reports.

In all, nearly 100 rockets have been fired at Israel since terrorist attacks killed 8 Israelis and wounded more than 20 on Aug. 18, according to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman. More than 30 struck Israel on Saturday alone. More than 1 million Israelis are in range of the rockets, according to the IDF.

Israel’s Air Force targeted a terror cell in northern Gaza on Sunday morning, the first such strike in 24 hours, according to the IDF.

One man was killed and at least three severely injured when several Grad rockets struck Beersheba Saturday night. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one rocket over Beersheba. Two children, including an infant, were wounded when four Grad rockets landed in Ofakim, several miles west of Beersheba.

The Popular Resistance Committees and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks. Hamas later recanted its involvement but praised the attack. Early on Saturday, Hamas announced on a Gaza radio station that it was cancelling its truce with Israel.

Following Saturday night’s attacks, the Israeli Air Force attacked a cell of terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip, the fifth such terrorist squad responsible for targeting Israel struck by Israel’s military since Aug. 18, according to the IDF. Also since Aug. 18, Israel’s Air Force has targeted fifteen terror sites across the Gaza Strip, including: terrorist infrastructures, outposts, smuggling tunnels, terror tunnels used for storage of weapons and rockets and to attack Israel, and manufacturing facilities.

“Over the last two days, Israel has been hitting back hard at those responsible for the attack in the south, and is acting with efficiency against the launching of Grad missiles and rockets from Gaza in order to protect the citizens of Israel,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday.

Barak announced an IDF investigation into the deaths of members of Egyptian security forces during the Aug. 18 terror attack, as well as a joint investigation with the Egyptian military.

Barak expressed regret at the deaths of the five soldiers, averting a crisis with Egypt over the incident

“The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty has great importance and much strategic value for the stability of the Middle East,” Barak said.

The Arab League on Sunday called on the United Nations to force Israel to end its retaliatory air strikes on Gaza.

On Saturday night, some 25,000 social justice protesters in Tel Aviv held a silent march carrying candles and flashlights, which was purposely kept low-key due to the Gaza rockets bombarding the south.

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