Gaza Rockets Kill 1, Wound 20 Others in Southern Israel

Posted August 20th, 2011 at 4:15 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Israeli officials say Gaza militants have fired a barrage of rockets and mortars into southern Israeli communities, killing one civilian and wounding at least 20 others.

Authorities say several Grad rockets hit a house and a car in the Israeli city of Beersheba late Saturday, killing a man and wounding seven people. Rockets also struck a house in the nearby town of Ofakim, wounding three people, two of them children. Hamas militants who control Gaza claimed responsibility for the attack on Ofakim.

Hamas said Friday it is ending a truce with Israel in response to a series of Israeli airstrikes on militant targets in Gaza since Thursday that have killed at least 14 Palestinians, mostly militants. Gaza militant groups have launched dozens of rockets and mortars into southern Israel in the same period.

Israel launched the air strikes in retaliation for a cross-border militant raid into southern Israel that killed eight Israelis, six of them civilians. Israeli authorities said the heavily-armed assailants crossed from Gaza into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, before sneaking into Israel on Thursday, across a largely unfenced border.

Earlier Saturday, Israeli officials said rocket fire from Gaza wounded 11 people across southern Israel, including three Palestinians suspected of working illegally in Israel. The Palestinians suffered shrapnel wounds when a rocket landed near the Israeli city of Ashdod.

Israel says its warplanes struck several militant targets in Gaza on Saturday.

The Quartet of Mideast peace mediators issued a statement Saturday expressing concern about what it called an “unsustainable situation” in Gaza and the “risk of escalation.” The United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations called for “restraint from all sides.”