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Rockets from Gaza shatter short-lived calm

JTA

October 31, 2011 | 1:53 pm

Smoke rises after a mortar slams into the ground near Kibbutz Nahal Oz just outside the northern Gaza Strip on Oct. 31. Photo by REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Smoke rises after a mortar slams into the ground near Kibbutz Nahal Oz just outside the northern Gaza Strip on Oct. 31. Photo by REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A rocket fired from Gaza landed in Ashkelon was the first since a barrage of rocket fire on southern Israel ended.

Two mortars landed Monday afternoon in the western Negev shortly after the Kassam attack stopped at midnight.

“There is no cease-fire, no negotiations and the IDF continues its operations,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud Party lawmakers before the start of the opening meeting of the winter Knesset session. “Anytime someone disrupts the peace in the South, our response will be severe, just as it was on Saturday, and I’m telling you, even more severe.”

The latest attacks follow a weekend in which at least 39 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza at Israel. The barrage, for which Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, appeared to be sparked by an Israeli airstrike Saturday that thwarted an attempt by a terrorist cell preparing to fire long-range rockets from southern Gaza into Israel. The Israeli military reported that it was the same terrorist cell that was responsible for rockets fired on Israel last week

Several long-range Grad missiles hit in and near cities throughout southern Israel, including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gan Yavne and Beersheba. A school and a private home were damaged in the attacks, and several cars were burned. Some 200,000 children stayed home from school, and several colleges and Ben-Gurion University did not open for the start of the new academic year on Sunday as scheduled.

An Ashkelon resident and father of four, Moshe Ami, 56, died from injuries sustained when he was hit by shrapnel Saturday as he ran to a shelter from his car. He died in the hospital from stomach wounds several hours after the attack.

At least 10 Islamic Jihad terrorists have been killed in the Israeli strikes.

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