Rockets still pounding Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) – At least 35 rockets shot from Gaza pounded southern Israel as Israel prepared to transfer humanitarian aid to the Palestinians on the second day of its ground operation against Hamas.

Long-range Grad rockets struck Beersheba, Yavne, Ashdod and Ashkelon throughout Monday. A Grad missile struck an empty kindergarten in Ashdod, while a Kassam rocket damaged a home in Sderot, where several people were treated for shock. Schools in those areas and surrounding communities remained closed Monday

Overnight in Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Air Force struck more than 30 targets, including a mosque storing large numbers of weapons, an underground bunker in Gaza City, tunnels near the Egyptian border used to bring terrorists in and out of Gaza, Hamas members’ homes and a rocket launcher, according to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office.

An IDF officer and five soldiers were injured in overnight gun fights.

Meanwhile, the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza was scheduled to open Monday to allow 80 truckloads of medical supplies and food from Greece, Jordan and Egypt to cross into Gaza.

In addition, the fuel depot at Nahal Oz was scheduled to send into Gaza nearly 53,000 gallons of fuel for Gaza’s power station and for humanitarian needs. Also, some 200 Palestinians holding dual citizenship will be evacuated from Gaza.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that "Hamas has been dealt a very severe blow, but we still haven’t reached the end goal we set for ourselves and therefore the operation is continuing."

Barak said that more than  500 Palestinians have been killed and about 2,200 wounded in the operation. Some 55 Israeli soldiers have been injured and one killed.

A large number of Hamas terrorists have been taken prisoner in the ground offensive, Israel Radio reported.

Palestinian officials told the media that the IDF killed seven members of one Palestinian family in an airstrike Monday on their home on the outskirts of Gaza City.
 

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